The realization is: we are sitting too much and we are supposed to move.
The question is: is getting up and down, rolling, biking and walking while working really going to solve the problem?
Here are some facts and solutions:
- When you sit for any length of time and over time, the hamstrings (those all-important muscles in the back of the upper leg) tighten and shorten. Tight, short hamstrings are responsible for 50% of low back pain. EVERYONE should be able to stand feet together, knees straight, bend over, touch the floor and hold for three seconds… without warming up.
SOLUTION: Flexibility Bounce Feet apart, head up. Bounce the upper body GENTLY downward 8 times. Then allow the upper body to fall forward with arms and head loose. Repeat often throughout your day. This will free up both your hamstrings and your low back.
- When you stand for any length of time and over time, the muscles from the seat and hips to the feet tighten and the blood pools in your legs. Tight muscles often cause weakness and swelling. Did you know that the legs are an auxiliary pump for the heart? Standing and sitting mean that your wonderful little heart motor has to work harder.
SOLUTION: One or two Deep Knee Bends often throughout the day will help the blood return to the heart…and also strengthen your legs. If you can’t do it on your own, open a door and hold on to both handles.
- Walking or running on a treadmill and biking are repetitive movements. Yes, these are forms of exercise; nevertheless, they are repetitive and need to be balanced out by using opposing and adjacent muscle groups and by stretching following the work.
SOLUTION: Hip Twist Standing on one foot, turn the other in and then out. Repeat 8 to each side.
- One of the primary reasons for exercise, in addition to working the muscles, is to offset stress and tension. Exercise should be a “work” of its own, not something you do while you work. The body and the mind need a break. Muscles need your attention, your full attention. The break does not need to be long, but it does need to be both often and with purpose.
SOLUTION: Take mini-exercise breaks of 15 to 30 seconds often throughout the day. They can be done on bathroom breaks, lunch break or when you change from one task to another. Often and with purpose is the key.
- Many people just hate exercise and find it boring. Their answer to “getting through it” is to read, watch TV or work during their routine. Again, your muscles need your attention, your full attention. If you listen they will talk to you. They will tell you that you can do more, or that you had better do less, or that you need to use a different set of muscles and give a rest to the ones you are using. Muscles love to be worked but they also love and require variety. Well used and cared for muscles will last you a long time and serve you well.
SOLUTION: Check out the MINI-MINUTE EXERCISES at the end of this blog. They can be done almost anywhere and can be done separately or together. Together they provide 3 minutes of over-all body exercise.
- Nothing wrong with seats and chairs that roll but beware that if you change from the stationary chair to the rolling one that you will be using your muscles differently. Side to side movements will use the inside and outside of your legs and if you are not used to this action you may find that your hips begin to ache…and then you may begin to wonder what is wrong with my new, expensive, built especially for me chair which is guaranteed to solve all my problems?
SOLUTION: Change chairs during the day and use Desk Let-Down to give your muscles a break. Remember, muscles like variety.
- Moving seats and desks, treadmills and bikes do NOTHING for the upper body. If you have taken the time to look in a full-length mirror lately you might have noticed that the upper half of your body makes up half your body.Shoulders are a prime target for the collection of stress and weakness. Look around you. Note the shoulders that almost touch the ears, the rounded shoulders, the rounded upper back (kyphosis), and the dropped shoulder all of which are due to weak and/or tight muscles. Often what goes along with these posture problems is the protruding abdomen.Is that what you really want to look like? Is that really the way you want to feel?
SOLUTION: Use the above shoulder and neck exercises to relieve tension BEFORE it has time to accumulate in the muscles. Do them throughout the day and you’ll find a more relaxed you at day’s end.
TIME TO GET BUSY SENSIBLY. We cannot expect THINGS to solve our muscle problems. We have to solve them by using our wonderful bodies in common-sense purposeful ways.
For more information about Bonnie Prudden®, Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy®, workshops, books, self-help tools, DVDs, educational videos, and blogs, visit www.bonnieprudden.com. Or call 520-529-3979 if you have questions or need help. Enid Whittaker, Managing Director, Bonnie Prudden Myotherapy®