Recently in the news there has been a lot about sitting is the new smoking and how bad it is for our health to sit for long periods of time. In the articles and news feeds that followed, experts have been saying don’t sit for more than 45 mins (this varies slightly on each report) and tout exercises to replicate at set intervals during the day to counteract the effects of sitting for long periods. While physical exercise is very important from a strength and cardio vascular point of view, movement is not the same thing.

What is movement?

The dictionary describes movement as “The act or an instance of moving; a change in place or position.” So this can describe walking, stretching, reaching for things, going to the washroom, etc and not necessarily a specific exercise per se.
Movement is not only very important for our joints, posture and muscles but it is also tied to bodily functions like digestion, lymph circulation, joint lubrication etc and that’s we really can’t afford to sit for long periods without the negative consequences catching up with us.

touch toesIf you watch a toddler squat to the floor they will have almost perfect form, great range of motion at ankles, hips and knees. In most adults this is a different story, their heels come off the floor, hips compensate for poor ankle mobility, etc, etc. and it’s certainly not because they have aged 40 years, it’s because if we don’t use it, we lose it. A lack of joint, tendon and muscle flexibility is an adaptation to being static and not using joints to their end ranges. If we sit a lot we are very adapted to sitting, if we move more we adapt to that too.

So movement doesn’t have to be a specific number of reps or weights or exercises. A walk, some stretches, playing soccer with the kids or grandkids, using the stairs, gardening, etc, etc all count.

The key staying flexible and pain free is to move more, whatever that movement maybe is, just do it, your body will thank you!

In health,

Richard

2015-12-17 00:24:50