There are many things in life that damage our health. These include smoking, excessive consumption of alcohol or sweets. But one thing that also significantly disrupts our well-being occurs daily for most people. Sitting!
Why humans are not made for sitting
Let’s take a step back, to the Stone Age. Here, it was common that Stone Age man had to take care of his food on a daily basis. As hunter-gatherers, the motto was therefore “Get out of the cave!”. In a radius of estimated 20 km the hungry Neanderthal moved away from his camp to search for plants and prey. Means, if he went 20 km far away in the morning, he had to run the same distance back in the evening. And this sometimes every day!
Honestly, who of us moves today already 40 km daily? Probably nobody. Fortunately, this is no longer necessary to survive. But our development falls into the other extreme.
How much do you move every day?
Most people’s workday takes place in some form of sedentary behavior. Whether in the office, at the checkout counter in the supermarket, or as a bus driver. Most professions have evolved to require us to move less and less. We then get to work by car or public transport, in which we of course sit again. Only a few people have such a manageable commute that they can use a bicycle or even walk. In the evening, we then relax comfortably on the couch to recover from the exhausting day.
This results in a significantly reduced range of motion! Just take a look at your day and calculate how many steps you take like this every day! Probably less than you thought.
The 10,000 steps goal
10,000 steps a day is a frequently mentioned limit. On average, this number is equivalent to about 7 kilometers, which is only a fraction of what our ancestors had to walk every day. And yet, even this goal is utopian for most people! If you already notice that your daily average is also below this, you should urgently do something about it!
Often, small changes in your daily routine are enough to increase your physical activity! For example, get off the train two stops earlier and walk the rest of the way. Or, instead of making one big purchase for the entire week, make use of several small purchases. Go to the nearest market and buy fresh produce more often. This is not only helpful for exercise, but also for your diet! Finally, the classic: stairs instead of elevator! Get used to it and use the stairs as a daily workout. Soon you’ll be running up and down with no problem!
What exactly is so harmful about sitting?
The reason why you should move more in your daily life is simple. Constantly staying in the same position over and over again is damaging your body! The muscular and fascial structures are always in the same position, which leads to restrictions in mobility.
Just imagine your sitting position. The knees are bent about 90 degrees, as are the hips, the back is mostly rounded due to our lack of uprightness, the shoulders are often hunched and the head hangs forward. Do you recognize yourself in this? These are the typical bad postures that we can observe every day. This means that the muscles and also the fascia get used to these positions.
For example, a common problem is the hip flexor. It is a short, small muscle that is permanently approximated when sitting. As a result, it loses flexibility, fascia adhesions form and function is limited. The result is an increased pull on the hip joint, which is also noticeable in the lumbar spine in the further chain. The muscle constantly pulls the pelvis forward due to its increased tone, which causes the lumbar spine to get into an increased hollow back. Here, the pressure on the vertebral bodies and the intervertebral discs increases and pain eventually follows.
This is just one example of a possible cycle. If you want to check if your hip flexor is not flexible enough, check out the Thomas Test (video) here!
What can you do?
In addition to improving your posture and regular change, for example standing up while talking on the phone or taking a short walk during your lunch break, you should release the tension from your muscles! Backrelease allows you to release tension on your own, even in difficult areas such as the hip flexor or the back.
Pure stretching is often not enough. Take the Backrelease with an attachment of your choice in your hand and go from the hip bone a little inward. Here you can now work on the increased tone of the hip flexor. Feel your way slowly to the pressure, because this area is relatively sensitive. (Can also be done with bare hands).
If you work on this regularly, and also try to change your daily routine a bit, you will soon be much looser and freer. This will help your body to finally straighten up!
Laura, physiotherapist for ten years
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