Take a stand for your health! Yes take a stand literally.
Stop sitting so much.
Most of us spend a great deal of time planted in front of a computer, T.V. or desk without understanding the consequences of such a position.
Does one or more of my hips feel displaced and unable to hold weight when I first get out of a chair?
Do I suffer from regular lower-back pain?
Would I like to have a healthier heart, without adding more exercise to your day?
Would I like to have stronger abs without having to purchase a gadget from an infomercial?
If you said “yes” to any of these questions there’s good news. Read on.
I have become aware, through the work of Aligned and Well expert Katy Bowman M.S., that excessive sitting is harmful and unnecessary. Two detrimental affects of sitting are:
First, it can contribute to heart ailments. Katy tells us that sitting “rearranges your muscles into a position that prevents the smaller blood vessels from holding their share of blood. The end result of sitting excessively is that more blood stays inside the larger arteries. Thus making it harder for the heart to work.” If you’re thinking that because you have a strong “cardio and weight” schedule as part of your exercise program you don’t need to listen to this advice? Think again.
Those of us who lift weights and regularly participate in cardiovascular activities may not be any better off in that concern than our buddies who are couch potatoes. According to Katy, “Muscle activity needs to be happening all day long!” And, I believe her. I’m starting to understand that we can’t just go to the gym and then sit all day at work and expect to be truly healthy.
Second, excessive sitting often causes pain. As Katy asks:
Have you ever gotten up from a sitting position and felt a little tweaky in the hip? Hear an audible click when taking your first few steps after being seated, or a pop when kicking your leg out to the side?
This is a condition (cleverly) called “snapping hip.” Here’s the basic low-down. There can be two things going on. Either your iliotibial (IT) band is snapping in and out of its groove (called external snapping hip) or it’s the tendon of the psoas muscle snapping over a bony protrusion (internal snapping hip).
She goes on to point out that healthy muscle is lengthened muscle and sitting simply shortens and thus weakens your muscles. If we want to recover from this “snapping hip” syndrome or improve the condition of our IT band, standing more than sitting is a cheap option to physical therapy and or surgery.
So now that you know this, the unanswered question is: What are you to do about it?
The obvious answer is to sit less and stand more. However, a more productive answer is to incorporate a cheap, simple adjustment to your work life – get a standing work station for you and your computer.
You can purchase some pretty cool and highly functional options on-line. Case-in-point the one at our home (see above) and was purchased at www.airdesks.com
If you want the cheapest faster route, create your own like I have with materials already at hand. As you can see I simply converted a wire file box into a desk top prop and I have my own functional standing station.
My creative assistant Jessica Draper caught onto the idea and scrounged up an old CD tower which offer a height that works extremely well.
Now all you have to do is make sure that the new practice of standing is “good” for you. Here is a diagram that can help you understand good posture. If you make this simple adjustment to the way you spend a chunk of your work time, you will begin to experience results instantly. Some people have to pace themselves at first by standing at their computer for an hour, then two, then three, and so forth. Good luck and find your way wisely.
Here’s to your health!
And here’s to standing for it!
Listen to Katy Bowman’s related interview.
Read Katy Bowman’s blog to learn more on “snapping hip” condition.
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