Rise Up at Work in the Name of Health

Posted by on Sep 5, 2017 in Exercise, Healthy Living | 0 comments

Rise Up at Work in the Name of Health

It’s been said that too much of anything can be bad for you. And according to Madras physical therapist Brock Monger, this theory holds true with sitting – or, pretty much any prolonged sedentary behavior, for that matter.

In an age when more people find themselves sitting for hours at a time at home, in transit and at work, researchers are finding sobering parallels between inactivity and an increased risk of health complications and chronic diseases. Yet studies have shown that the average American spends more than half of his or her waking hours in a sitting position, mostly while at work.

“We’re at an incredible time in our country when a growing number of people are beginning to accept the fact that movement is medicine, and yet they still find themselves sitting throughout most of the day,” said Monger, co-owner of Apex Physical Therapy. “Without making concerted efforts to overcome all this sitting, this can unfortunately contribute to many chronic health concerns and even decrease our quality of life.  Humans are designed to move, if we stop moving such as sitting for hours at a time with regularity, our body rebels in the most unhelpful ways.”

One Mayo Clinic cardiologist, Martha Grogan, M.D., has even compared the effects of excessive sitting with that of smoking. So how does one combat such inactivity, especially if work or career requires a lot of time in a chair?

“It’s all about moving, engaging your muscles and waking up your body, even if it’s just a little at a time,” said Monger. “Such efforts help keep your body and mind alert, increasing metabolism, providing nutrition to your joints, and increasing your energy levels.”

To accomplish this within a work environment, Monger offers the following advice:

Sweat Your Commute: Instead of driving or taking the bus/train to work, get up early and walk. Or, ride your bike. If driving is necessary, park at the far end of the lot, then take the stairs whenever possible.

Take a Stand: Take advantage of any opportunity you have to stand. If you can’t get your boss to buy you an adjustable-height desk, then stand when you’re on the phone, think on your feet. And, trade internal instant messaging for a quick walk to a coworker’s desk.

Break for Fitness: When you take breaks, don’t just sit in the lounge with a coffee, snack and your smartphone. Take a quick walk around the building or block, or do some stretching.  Consider getting a coworker involved in walking with you during breaks.

Movement Timeouts:  Try to stand up and move every 20 to 40 minutes. Ideas include: move your hips side to side; march in place; perform heel-toe raises; reach up with your arms; breathe; pinch shoulder blades together; gently extend your low back; look around the room (eyes need a break as well); perform mini-squats or stand up from your chair 5 to 10 times; gently stretch your hands/wrists both directions; try a gentle runners’ calf stretch. Just mix it up, make it yours and share it with your colleagues. By taking a time for movement, you will be more productive with your time.

In addition, Monger says sitting throughout the day can cause weaknesses in your muscles and stress joints, which can lead to poor posture and unhealthy imbalances in your body. Over time, this can cause discomfort, pain, injury or other complications.

If this is a concern, a physical therapy team like that at Apex Physical Therapy can assess a person’s individual situation, discuss workplace setup/ergonomics, identify weaknesses and imbalances in the body, and then collaborate with the individual to find solutions to start feeling well, reversing the harmful effects of prolonged sitting.

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