I see a lot of people in physical therapy, many of whom have lower back pain, neck pain, shoulder issues, hip, knee, ankle, and anywhere else. I also see a lot of injured runners who are generally more active than my other clients, yet they may have difficulties getting back to full running.
I work my best to give the best hands on care, prescribe the correct exercises based on each condition, and may even use gadgets and technology to help the body to heal.
However, a big challenge comes from what people do for the total of 168 hours in a week, in which I only see them maybe 1 or 2 of those hours. Therefore, it is so important that I counsel my clients on postures and positions that will optimize healing. For more information about how I do this, please read my blog about what I call “Life Skills”.
When it comes to factors that impair healing, sitting is easily one of the worst things for you. Not only that, but did you know that that the chair you’re sitting in right now could be shortening your life?
It’s true. Medical research is showing that too much sitting will increase your mortality rate—even if you exercise:
That is, even if you’re a runner who gets 50 miles per week, but sits 7-8 hours per day (the average global sitting time), the risk factor of sitting a long time will lower your life expectancy compared to those who are more active and sit less during their days.
As I’ve heard Dr. Mercola say several times: “Sitting is the New Smoking”. See his article here as he speaks with the author of the book Sitting Kills Moving Heals, Joan Vernikos, Ph.D:
It is SO IMPORTANT to get up frequently during your day, or abolish sitting altogether. However, if you’re thinking that you can get a standing desk and just call it good, you’re wrong there too.
In comes Deskbound a great comprehensive book by fellow Doctor of Physical Therapy Kelly Starrett. With so many problems with sitting and poor postures at work, the book shows how “Desk Jockeys” can move dynamically during the day from sitting to standing, and gives great exercises or “mobility prescriptions” to address joint, tendon, and postural restrictions.
There are so many great ideas for correct movement in the book, that there’s no way I can even scratch the surface in this blog today. If you’re interested, please check the book out.
I love Dr. Starrett’s attitude towards movement and self-empowerment. He gives many things for you to work on, and even if you did only 10-15 minutes per day with the mobility routines, you’d feel so much better it’s crazy. Also, if you can just wire your brain to get moving every 10-15 minutes, even at first with a timer, then you’ll feel a ton better too. I can’t tell you how many times that people had a good session with me in PT, then they are at work the next day sitting for HOURS before moving, then guess what? They’re stiff and sore. NO KIDDING! Our bodies were not designed for staying put.
You are in control of how you move during your day, because we are not literally “chained to our desks”. We need to break our mentality that we need a certain ergonomic set up to be aligned with correct posture, and take control of how we move and adjust during the day. You’ll be more productive at work because of the increased blood flow, but your body will thank you with less aches and pains.