Movement is Key!

We started talking about movement last post.  I’d like to continue on that subject because, as mentioned, we have become way too sedentary for our health.  Even an hour or two of daily exercise can’t make up for the 8-10+ hours of static sitting that has become way too commonplace for most people!

With movement comes the stimulation of the musculature and various cellular processes throughout the body that keep all our systems functioning at a higher level.  We get more fuel to all of our cells, our pancreas does a better job of balancing out blood sugar levels, our brain gets fed the glucose it needs to function properly, our digestive system continues to work and our muscles get the blood they need to both flush out waste products plus bring new oxygen and nutrients to function properly.  And, as we talked last time, to assist with keeping full length in the muscles that tend to stay short after prolonged sitting.

The above is to just name a few of the many actions our body does when we keep moving as opposed to too much sitting.  Did you know that even getting up and moving your own body weight around for a few minutes will start your system moving again?  This is why it is ideal to walk around at breaks, work part of the time at a standing desk, use the steps rather than taking the elevator whenever you can and much more.  You get the picture.

Start getting creative as to how you can move around more even if you do have to be at your desk all day.  What about standing and doing squats while you are on a conference call?  This will get those glutes and quads working to increase metabolism and burn a few extra calories.  Need to read that paper?  Walk around your desk while you are reading it or do little lunges from side to side.  Perhaps do a little Tai Chi movement or two while you are reading something on your computer.  Don’t know Tai Chi?  Here is a video with some basic moves for you from  Jake Mace  Note side benefit:  This might just calm you down a bit at the same time!

Drink more water!   You will get the double benefit of rehydrating your system, which is most likely dehydrated, and it will make you get up and go to the bathroom more.  🙂  For more information on hydration, here is an article I wrote a while back about drinking water.

Of course none of this is meant to take the place of regular vigorous exercise but to help counter the negative effects of sitting too much.

Another benefit is every time you get up and sit back down, you are likely to sit in your chair more upright and out of that slumped position that seems to come so naturally when sitting for long periods of time.  You thought I forgot about the posture piece, didn’t you?  Nope.  Next time we will look at what often happens to the head and neck from sitting too long.

Meanwhile I hope this inspires you to move more and more throughout the day!

To your health,

Julie

 

Thoughts on why your low back might be killing you!

Does sitting ever drive you completely crazy?  I don’t know about you but I am a mover.  I get so fidgety when I have to do too much work at the computer.  I’d much rather be up and moving around!  Unfortunately in today’s society sitting comes with the territory.

Sitting is just one of the culprits that can start to cause low back pain.  The muscles in the front of the thigh that cross the hip joint are all hip flexors; in other words they lift your leg up in front of your body.  If you think about what that looks like, you can see the thigh perpendicular to the body when standing is the same as when you are sitting in a chair.  Stay in this position for prolonged periods of time and eventually those muscles won’t go back to their full length. The result?  When you stand those muscles pull the front of the hip down to compensate for being shorter than normal.

So what, you ask?  With that pelvis being pulled forward it ‘squishes up’ the lower back, which shortens and tightens those muscles resulting in pressure on the joints of the vertebrae.

The same thing can happen when you have a larger belly than you should have.  I know, you don’t like to hear that but it’s true!  That extra belly takes you out of gravity and pulls your whole body forward and down at the front of the pelvis.  Again this causes undue stress on the muscles and bones in the low back.

When those muscles get tight they cause pain.  As for the joints, there are small joints called ‘facet joints’ which are part of the vertebrae.  They are loaded in pain receptors so when they are unnaturally jammed together, they send lots of messages to your brain that says PAIN!!

So what can you do about it?  We will talk about this more on my next blog.  Meanwhile here is a great stretch to get you started on making some changes:

Give this a try on a daily basis and see if it doesn’t start to help with that low back pain.

To your health,

Julie