How often do you move? Rather than counting steps this week I'd like you to really pay attention to how much time you spend moving, or more likely not moving. If you are a client or take classes with me I want you to report back to me on that one too.You ALL have homework this week!
So, why is this important? Why do we have so much pain? This is what I'm going to try to cover in this post. It may be long, but stick with me. I will offer simple things you can do to keep you from being another painful statistic. You will thank me, or call me names for removing your comfortable and convenience mind-set. I'm okay with either.
Who is sedentary? The person with a desk job, a teenager who plays games on his or her on their computer every day, a weight lifter, Yogi, Pilates practitioner? Well, all of these people can be sedentary. If you workout regularly, even an hour a day, you may still be sedentary. Before you fret over how on earth are you supposed to workout MORE than an hour a day (ain't nobody got time for that) keep reading and let me explain.
If you take an hour a day to exercise, but spend the other 15 waking hours sitting in class, at work, in the car, in front of the tv or computer you are training your body to take the shape of furniture. Check out these people sitting in a lecture. Look at the shape they take.
Legs crossed, pelvis tucked, shoulders internally rotated. If they came to a class at SOAR and stretched their adductors, spent that hour learning to untuck thier pelvis, and worked to properly rotate their shoulders they would feel relief... for a while. Then they'd sit again. Let me be perfectly clear: WHAT YOU DO FOR ONE HOUR DOES NOT UNDO WHAT YOU DO THE OTHER 15 HOURS. I'm not saying you need to exercise all day. A big part of the problem is the furniture. These people are not using their muscles at all. The chairs are doing the work for them.
Not only are their muscles not working, but their blood is unable to flow properly because their muscles aren't able to aid the blood flow. This makes your heart have to work harder and can lead to high blood pressure, the silent killer.
See the chair shape of the woman in front who looks totally bored? This is forcing her pelvis in to a 'tuck'. I see a lot of people stuck in a pelvic tuck, meaning the pubic bone is ahead of their hip bones. This places undue compression on the lumbar spine. It also pushes her organs backward, her uterus will poorly positioned which can cause menstruation problems. She will also face pelvic-floor dysfunction. Guys, you aren't in the clear either. You are also straining your low back and looking at pelvic-floor dysfunction presenting with pelvic pain and prostate issues among other things. Upon standing they will all have a hard time getting straightened up. The psoas is shortened by 3 inches when sitting and struggles to regain that length. The knees will have to keep a slight bend to maintain that pelvic tuck when standing. So your knees are also suffering from sitting.
Let's look at another group of people who are sitting below. By sitting on the ground their muscles have to work to hold them upright,.
The guy in the shorts is using his core muscles, his abdominals and back muscles, for example. Everyone is getting a hip stretch of some sort too. Floor sitting is part of the reason that far fewer people in the East have hip replacements or hip complaints. (Squatting is the other part) Plus, when sitting on the floor one will switch position often. Simple switch here: Sit on the floor, or on a small cushion like I am now while writing this, rather than in a chair. Bonus points if you can get up without using your hands!
So you've done some corrective movement and some sitting on the floor. Great! You still need to get natural movements in. We move a lot less than previous generations. Why? Convenience. When we say something is more convenient we usually mean we have to move less. Drive-thrus, parking close to the entrance and buying premade food are a few examples. The latest convenience is online shopping. Why go walk around a store looking at different items, bending over, reaching up, when you can just type in a search bar? It gets even better with the advent of online grocery ordering. You can place your order, schedule your time for pick-up, and have the groceries loaded into the car for you. Think of all of the movement you're missing! Walking, lifting, bending, It isn't saving time, only saving you time spent out of the house and time moving. Learn to move properly then apply it to real life rather than saving up movement and trying to fit it in artificially.
So, shop IRL (bonus! support local business), park far away from your destination, walk to your destination when possible and safe, sit on the floor, learn proper movement to lift and squat and use it in life for things like gardening. In addition to these you should add in hikes. Learn to walk up and down hills, step over rocks and felled trees, and walk on different surfaces.We are conditioned to believe we need to sit to do a lot of things. It makes people uncomfortable to stand during a friendly visit. Try to talk friends and family into joining you in standing or sitting on the floor. Teach them what you learn here on how to stand and move and sit properly. Bring them to class at SOAR. They will learn to move in a healthier manner and you will gain a support system! Mention this post when you bring them in and I'll give them their first class free!
Okay, even after taking several breaks I have been sitting enough. I'm off to practice what I preach!