Emily Brown

How do we get off the couch?

Staff Perspectives

Written by Emily Brown
Creative Arts Coordinator, Dance & A Moving Experience
Community Arts Connection

A daily routine.

For me it began at Community Arts Connection on Elmwood Avenue at 7:30am. A cup of coffee and a banana while saying good morning to people as they arrived and checking my e-mail. A 9:15am dance class and 11:15am lunch, probably salad with tuna. A quick game of UNO in the kitchen and afternoon class until 2pm. Then came another cup of coffee, computer time and on Tuesdays and Thursdays a 4pm workout. Sometimes this schedule could be upwards of 4 hours or more of moving around, dancing and walking.

Fast forward one month. My dance classes are on pause with most of our lives and it gets harder to get off the couch with each passing day.

Sir Isaac Newton stated in his First Law of Motion that a body in motion tends in stay in motion and a body at rest tends to stay at rest. I’ve never understood this idea quite so intimately as I do now.

So how do we get off the couch?

There are the usual responses: go for a walk, find an exercise class on Youtube or Facebook or play in the backyard. But what if even those ideas are out of reach?

Here are three small ideas to take the first step towards rebooting your body:

  1. The counter in your kitchen is a natural ballet barre. While waiting for chicken to defrost or the oven to preheat set your fingers lightly in the edge of the kitchen counter and lift your heels off the floor. Start with a small number and each day add one. Modify as needed to fit your mobility needs or the needs of someone you are supporting. This can be done one foot at a time to build confidence and balance. Looking for something more advanced or you’ve taken a dance class before? Bend your knees first then rise up on ball of your foot, or challenge yourself by taking your hands off the barre (kitchen counter) and balance. Remember to set your shoulders over your hips and don’t look at the floor! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unv8TS3JO6U
  2. TV commercials are boring and monotonous. Don’t watch them, workout through them! Begin by simply getting up and walking around when your show goes to a break. Then add exercises such as high knees, arm circles and punches. Need something more advanced? Wall sit, crunches and squats can probably fit in your living room. Watching with your family? Turn it into challenge where the winner gets to pick the next show. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1apl_KrezU
  3. Touch your toes and reach for the sky. Once every morning and once every night before going to bed. It doesn’t seem like much but it makes a big difference. Modify as needed and remember not to compare yourself to others but only to yourself yesterday. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOPnBMKTbO8


Don’t be hard on yourself. Take small steps each day to rebuild your routine and give yourself credit for small victories. If you need encouragement and camaraderie workout with someone in your house or videochat with them while you workout together.

Celebrate your success, no matter how small.

To view videos from Emily Brown, visit her YouTube playlist on The Arc of Monroe’s YouTube channel.