The sedentary lifestyle of so many Americans is really starting to concern me. The average American now spends more than 8 hours sitting every day. That is 122 days per year of sitting. We used to be a stand up species!! I firmly believe that all this sitting is exacting a serious, and previously misunderstood, toll on our bodies. We have moved from an active, agricultural lifestyle to one of offices and automation. Every aspect of our day from our meals (drive-thru’s, delivery) to our jobs (computers) to our home life (TV, maids, landscapers, computers, online shopping) to our entertainment (plush theater seats) has been tailored with one priority in mind, our comfort.
Yet, the feeling of comfort is not what people walking through our doors are describing to me. Many (young and old) are describing what I know to be the repercussions of sedentary behavior resulting in the muscular compensations and imbalances that follow. We all must understand that sitting for 8 hours a day easily puts us in the category of sedentary.
New clients have been walking through our doors for over 13 years. Recently I began noticing that the reasons for seeking our advice was shifting from the desire to lose weight or to live a healthier lifestyle (both of which are still critical) to helping them alleviate chronic aches and pains. Many come in with a clean medical diagnosis in hand as we are quick to run to the doctor for the quick fix. Many have X-rays and/or MRI’s showing healthy joints. Then what is the problem? And what is the solution? Quite often the solution is a lifelong effort to start moving the way we were meant to – standing up and incorporating more vigorous “proper” exercise into our lives.
Let me share a common complaint as well as what I know through years of experience to often be the solution. ”Lower back pain.”
First things first, the human body must be looked at as a whole. The majority of lower back pain is caused by musculoskeletal dysfunction in the hips and/or hip area, i.e. Iliopsoas (ilio-soas) or hip flexor tension and/or extremely tight hamstrings which create muscular compensation and imbalance. After proper assessment, the thought should be to begin improving flexibility with proper full range of motion exercises, foam rolling, massage, and only then building strength and muscular endurance. Proper consistent movement is key to lasting pain relief while seeking the active lifestyle we are meant to live.
Muscles make up 40% or more of our body weight. Tight, short, strained or compensating muscles can be painful enough to make you believe there’s something seriously wrong when often there’s not. The human body is designed to move. The more sedentary you are – the harder and harder it is to get your butt up off that chair. I’m hoping that the numerous well documented recent studies connecting sedentary behavior of men and women of every age, along with the way that so many sedentary people are feeling – far from comfortable – will drive them to get up and make a change in 2015!! I want to know, do you move enough? Do you have friends and loved ones that need to move more with you!
Referrals are the best compliment!