OFFICE IMBALANCE: THE NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF SITTING...AND THE FIX!
Are your work-related imbalances hurting your body and your quality of life? Sitting down for long periods of time will eventually cause your body to succumb to the effects of gravity, typically resulting in pain. We sit at work, when we eat, when we drive, we sit to entertain and to relax... Since we are immobilized in a sitting position for a good portion of our waking lives, certain metabolic, biomechanical, and orthopedic problems can be predicted.
The sitting position weakens all muscles. Along with this weakness comes a loss of motion and function. Generally speaking, the muscles that push and curl the torso including the chest, shoulders, abdominals, and hip flexors get weaker and shorter from sitting…. While the muscles that extend the body and pull, including the scapular retractors (rhomboids, trapezius, etc.), paraspinals, gluteals, and hamstrings get stretched out, longer, and weaker. Bottom line… muscle imbalance that will affect your overall performance and eventually cause pain.
When we look at the human body, it is easy to see that it is not made to sit… it is made to move. The body moves and functions at its best when it is in proper balance… the idea that all muscles are strong relative to each other. Balance is an on-going life process, but can easily be started by first addressing the sitting weaknesses.
Some specifics are:
• balance training – stabilize joints
• core & back-chain strength/endurance exercises – strengthen weaknesses
• loaded and dynamic flexibility exercises – improve ranges of motion
• energy intensive movement training – improve overall functional capacity
• nutritional and lifestyle counseling – good food for healthy living
This simple approach will give you better balance, a stronger back, stronger lungs and heart, better posture, less fat and stronger more flexible muscles, more control of your own health, more energy, and probably have you feeling better than you have in a long time. That’s a lot… I know. But it’s all true.
The exercises that will make the most difference are not difficult. They just need to be done. Devote a small amount of time each day to strengthening your weaknesses. Stand up… and don’t let sitting bring you down.
-Jim Beatty, CSCS, CPT – Fitness Professional and Wellness Coach
FitnWell Main Line Philadelphia Fitness Studio
128 West Lancaster Ave., Wayne, PA 19087