I recently attended a lecture titled “Sitting is the New Smoking”. Thought I’d share a little of what I took away from it.
Sitting down for long periods (facing a computer screen, sitting in meetings, watching TV, driving a car) is not what we were designed to do. It has now also been shown that sitting all day and then going to the gym for an hour isn’t ideal either. The key is to move more often, as much as possible, with high intensity several times per week.
Objects of modern life such as office chairs, beds, car seats, and lounges are designed to provide so much comfort and support to our bodies that we can stay put for long priors of time without the need to move. But is this a good thing ? Research shows us that fascia (all our connective tissue that covers and weaves through our entire body) is continuously being remodelled every minute of every hour. Naturally if we sit or lie on a hard surface, (think of old Danish furniture, basic plastic chairs or just on the floor like many other cultures) the body will move roughly every 20 minutes to get a new comfortable position. Not moving for hours can lead to our connective tissue remodelling in that position, potentially leading to imbalances and pain, not to mention the stats on other health factors. I stayed in Myanmar in a monastery many moons ago on a timber floor and I definitely moved every 20 minutes as each body part progressively went numb. I think it’s a matter of getting used to it. We are conditioned for comfort ! But the truth is we are doing harm by not moving. I don’t know if I’m ready to sleep on a yoga mat yet, but here are some tips for moving more regularly if your desk bound all day:
- Make yourself head out at lunchtime
- Arrange walking meetings, grabbing a coffee for the walk if need be
- Get up and stretch ! Move your fascial system regularly. I’ll post over the next few weeks some great ways to move at your desk that won’t have you looking ridiculous if you’re in a shared office
- Consider gradually making your chair a little less comfortable. Your body will tell you it’s time to move
- Use the stairs
Know that sometimes it’s impossible to change your day, but I’m sure there are a few ways you could move more often. Hopefully I’ve got you thinking …
Physiotherapist/ Pilates Practitioner/ Educator
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