Our society has a problem. A big one. We’re eating more and moving less. We’re sitting more and standing less. We’re pushing more and pulling less. We’re inside more and outside less.
Other than the scary side effects of our ever increasingly sedentary lifestyles, such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and osteoporosis, sedentary lifestyles contribute to the epidemic of back pain around today.
It’s very important to keep mobile, introduce gentle exercises and to slowly build up to strengthening activities. Movement increases blood flow to and from muscles and joints, it engages synovial pumps in joints, washing those joints and flushing out the by-products of energy creation.
- The classic example is to get out and get walking. It’s cheap, and easy, and you can slowly increase your distance and pace as you get comfortable.
- Cycling, aquatic exercises such as swimming and aerobics are also great non-weight bearing exercises to consider as well.
- Keep well hydrated. Sip water frequently, and don’t guzzle infrequently. Excessive water consumption in a short period, combined with excess tea and coffee drinking may increase urinary output and promote dehydration.
- Try to stick to the 30:30 rule: for every 30 minutes of sedentary activity, i.e. sitting in front of computer or watching TV, get up and move your body for 30 seconds, i.e. give everything a gentle ‘wiggle’.
- If you are stuck at a desk all day, stretch and strengthen your back with this simple Pilates move! Aim to twist in each direction 4-5 times, and repeat every 1 hour. If you have a small appropriate space, you can try this same move whilst standing, with your arms crossed across your chest.
- Workouts like yoga, Pilates, dancing, martial arts and other movement schools are great at making people move in multiple ways as well as helping people understand how they move in a more practical manner
We all could benefit from moving more. The physical advantages of doing so are well documented, the effect it has on our health is indelible, but the psychological benefits are also amazing. Exercise helps to combat stress, helps us think more clearly, improves our mood and decreases pain. Our body releases powerful “happy” hormones and pain killing chemicals when we exercise.
Perfect office tips:
Every time you sit down – stand up again! Do this up to 5 times. By the end of the day, you’ve done about 50 squats!
- Get outside during lunch
The sun is vital for our Vitamin D production, which is vital for healthy bones. Just 10 minutes a day of face and arms uncovered whilst outside is enough to meet our quota, but people still struggle.
- Stand whilst talking on the phone
If you’re taking a phone call – stand up! You don’t need to be sitting unless you’re taking notes, so see it as an opportunity for movement.
- Lifts are banned
An oldie but a goodie – ALWAYS take the stairs. Always.
- Place the printer on a desk somewhere else in the office that forces you to get out of the chair
- Create group game work – the more fun an exercise is the better, partly because you will be more likely to do it, but also because doing things you enjoy makes you feel better.
Good luck and move more!
Article courtesy of Osteopathy Australia, written by Claire Richardson and Chris Reeves.