If your 9 to 5 is all about being in a shape of a chair while doing what you do to achieve what you want, then, please read this post.
It’s pretty clear that we live in a society that is moving fast forward into becoming more sedentary and our social interactions are becoming increasingly disconnected in the real world and more connected in the digital one. I’d like to make it clear that this article is not going to be only just about what to do about it. I’d really like if you as a reader could take it as an important message a personal mission if you wish to help me on this mission to get more people active.
We all know that sitting down is bad for you there is no point arguing that. – Our bodies aren’t built for such sedentary existence. Our body evolved to be a well-structured machine, if you wish, designed to move and perform various tasks physically like run, jump, crawl and pick things up.
Put simply human body is designed to move.
We have over 360 joints and around 700 muscles that together allow free movement.
Our skeletal structure allows us to stand up tall against gravity.
Our blood flow depends on us to move around to circulate better.
Our lungs need to have the full capacity to expand, get all the uptake to properly oxygenate our body.
Our brain needs regular blood flow and oxygen to function and our nerve cells become more reactive the more we move.
When we sit down over an extended period of time, we tend to slouch our backs, shoulders come little more forward and a bunch of muscles starts to shorten and get tight and other super weak and our posture starts to suffer.
What you may also experience is that this slouchiness decreases the rib cage expansion to its full potential.. this means your lungs start to perform at less capacity .. and if you are under constant fight or flight mode, this get’s even worse. I’m sure we can all relate to that sometimes.. a little bit of extra workload, few extra coffees, cutting off sleep, some poor eating choices and before you know it your body is working in an acidic state, your cortisol is through the rough and you feel sluggish and stressed. Not fun right?
It’s pretty clear that sedentary lifestyle is simply not very good for you
And over the long term, it all contributes to these nasty conditions
- some types of cancers
- heart disease
- can contribute to diabetes
- Kidney and
- Liver problems
- And about 9% of premature deaths globally, as studies suggest.
So where do you start?
I recommend you start with simple awareness, first thing first, find out how you can sit little better by watching this video, this will provide you with a simple understanding what a good posture is and how you can correct your self when sitting. Next up, once you put your body in a correct position, I recommend you to focus on your lungs to get most possible oxygen uptake your body needs. Breathing deeply into your stomach to fully expand your lung capacity is what we are after here.
I also wrote separate article goes on the topic of posture and benefit of good posture in little more depth, you can read that here.
Now that we have covered the first 2 points, your posture and your breathing we can start focusing on the muscles. First thing I’d recommend you is to define where you are most stiff, this can typically be the chest, back of the neck or your hip flexors. There are other muscles that are of course tight but for simplicity, and considering you are just getting into this, let’s focus on the ones that will bring you quickest benefit.
Here is a simple stretch that will cover one of the areas that are typically shortened mot due to excessive sitting, your hip flexors.
When it comes to your work day do you ever end up going over time just because you didn’t finish on time? Doesn’t it suck that you can’t simply go home and relax but instead finding yourself doing extra long hours in a position you already hate?
Then, when you get home you are feeling tired from all day worth of work wanting to sit down, get a glass of wine and relax right? Well, ironically more sitting you do more tired you can end up feeling.
Being stationary reduces blood flow and the amount of oxygen entering your blood stream through your lungs, your brain requires both of those things (blood & oxygen) to remain alert, so your concentration levels will most likely drop as your brain activity slows
Because it all comes to taking action, I’d encourage you to try this simple breathing exercise by spending the next 3 mins experiencing the benefits that extra oxygen :-). Simply listen to the track below..
3 mins later…
Ok nice work, this was, in fact, is one of the simplest forms of exercise we recommend to all our clients to help tune in to their body and drop off some of the stress.
Practice this daily and you will notice significant improvements to your stress levels.
You can also do other simple strategies like setting up a reminder to stand up every 20-30 mins and go for a quick walk around the office (e.g. trip to a water cooler is simplest sneaky tactic)
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