Do you move?

Here at SportsPlus our motto for the New Year is: Move Better. Live Better. And in that spirit the next couple of posts will be about different exercises and movements that you can do throughout the day, whether at home or in the office, to move more often, and to move better. In the clinic we have tried all kinds of things to help people to move more often and to take frequent breaks from working and or studying, often to no avail. We have tried asking politely (usually useless), we have tried giving out timers that go off every 30 minutes (annoying), we have even tried scare tactics like this cool info graphic titled sitting is killing you (fear is never the answer). But all of this er… um… encouragement to stop sitting is useless without some suggestion of what to do instead and some reasons why those options are beneficial. In the spirit of one of my favorite TED talks I am going to start with the why today in this post and the how and what will follow in the next post.

                So why is it important to move throughout the day? 1. Common sense says it is a good idea, you know deep down inside that sitting for 8 hours a day at your desk and then another 3-4 hours sitting in your car and on your couch is bad for you, and deep down inside is usually a pretty good place to start when looking for advice. 2. Regardless of what you may have heard, there is no such thing as perfect posture, while some postures are more detrimental than others all postures put some amount of strain on some parts of your body and we need to change positions in order to vary that strain. 3. If you took the time to look at the info graphic in the link above you would have noted that sitting for any period of time, especially in a hunched forward position puts a large amount of strain on your low back. Prolonged sitting in particular is linked to chronic pain, obesity, diabetes, and increased risk of death, yes you read that right, DEATH. According to some studies sitting for more than 6 hours a day makes you 40% more likely to die in the next 15 years than someone who sits less than 3 hours a day, even if you exercise. Whoa, that last part about the exercise makes me stand up at my desk every time I read it.

                Enough with the bad news though already, how about some good news. While it may be difficult to rearrange your day so that you sit less than 6 hours there are some practical things you can do to help reduce the stress that sitting places on your body and decrease some of the aches and pains associated with prolonged sitting. First: MOVE! take frequent breaks, get up, stretch, get a drink of water, instead of calling the guy down the hall to ask him a question walk over and ask him in person, whatever you need to do… move. Second, even as little as two minutes a day of exercise has been shown to significantly reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches in office workers. Two minutes, that’s less time than it took you to watch some video about dancing cats this afternoon (and as a side note you could probably do the exercises from this study while watching the video about dancing cats), anybody can find two minutes in their day and that means that you can too. Third, microbreaks, especially in 20 minute intervals have been shown to reduce general discomfort without having any negative effects on productivity.

                So in conclusion move, it increases your lifespan, it reduces pain and it does not reduce your productivity.

 

(here is a cat video for you to watch while you stand up and stretch)