Our bodies are designed to move, a lot. All of our joints and muscles have special nerve endings, called proprioceptors, that are stimulated by movement. When these nerve endings are stimulated, they release a chemical that has the ability to override pain.
In our Western Civilization many people live very sedentary lives. If you think about it, most people wake up, get ready for work, and they "SIT" in their car for their commute to work. Then they "SIT" for 8 hours at a desk job. After work they "SIT" again on their drive home. Finally, they "SIT" on the couch while watching their favorite TV shows before they go to bed. The average American is sitting for 10 hours or more during the day. As a nation we are suffering from a disease I like to call hypomovementitis, which is caused by a deficiency in vitamin M, (movement).
I am writing about this jokingly, but this is a very serious matter. Our sedentary lifestyles are the root cause of many chronic diseases, (high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, etc.) that cost individuals and this country billions of dollars every year. The United States spends more money on "sick-care" than any other country in the world. Just imagine what we could do as individuals and a nation if we saved billions of dollars a year on managing chronic diseases.
Every day I see the results of a lack of movement in patients in my practice. My focus is more on correcting the negative musculoskeletal side effects, but I know that if I can get my patients moving more, then it is going to have positive effects systemically. To learn more about the adverse health effects from lack of movement, please read my article, "Death by Sitting".
When the human body is faced with outside stresses it will make adaptations, this is my approach to this issue. I don't propose that we should try to change all of Western Civilization, simply make adaptations to better cope with the stress that we face each day. I would never tell someone to quit their job because they sit at a desk all day. They just need to find a way to adapt to that physical stress. I encourage my patients to, "engineer movement" into their daily lives. Just like anything that is important to us, we have to make a concerted effort to develop good habits. Here are 7 tips to engineer movement into your life.
- Ride a bike to work.
- If you have to drive to work, park farther away so that you have to walk.
- Take the stairs.
- Instead of sitting in a chair, have a standing work station or sit on a exercise ball.
- Take a 5 min break every hour to stand up and walk around to improve blood flow.
- Do a set of 10 back extension stretches to take the stress off your low back.
- Do Wall Angel exercises to pull your shoulders back.
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Burnett Chiropractic @BurnettChiro
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Brian C. Burnett, D.C., M.S.
Brian Burnett Chiropractic, PL
1108 Hays St. Tallahassee, FL