Our society has a problem. A big one. We’re eating more and moving less. We’re sitting more and standing less. We’re pushing more and pulling less. We’re inside more and outside less.
Other than the scary side effects of our ever increasingly sedentary lifestyles, such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and osteoporosis, sedentary lifestyles contribute to the epidemic of back pain around today.
We’re not designed to stay put. We need fresh air and sunshine – vitamin D deficiency has become 50% more common in the last 5 years. Vitamin D is vital for healthy bones and to prevent osteoporosis, but we’re not getting it. Why? Because most of us go to work in the dark, and get home in the dark.
Our body releases powerful “happy” hormones and pain killing chemicals when we exercise. We all can benefit from moving more. The physical advantages of doing so are well documented, the effect it has on back pain is indelible, but the psychological benefits are also amazing. Exercise helps to combat stress, helps us think more clearly, improves our mood and decreases pain. Our body releases powerful “happy” hormones and pain killing chemicals when we exercise
It doesn’t always need to be strenuous or sweaty – a great restorative yoga session can help to decrease stress and blood pressure. A leisurely stroll can help alleviate tight back muscles.
Having said that, having the chance to go completely nuts on a boxing bag every now and then is incredibly therapeutic. The buzz that most people get after a heavy workout is awesome.
So by now I’m sure you get it. Exercise is great. I think we all need it. Here’s some ways to “accidentally-on-purpose” get some more of it.
I get some people to set an alarm on their phone every hour. When it goes off, they have to walk to the fridge, do some shoulder rolls, have a few deep breaths and stretch their shoulders.
Each time you sit down – stand up again! Do this up to 5 times. By the end of the day, you’ve done about 50 squats!
Balancing while brushing teeth
We’ve all got fairly shocking balance these days because we don’t use our legs as much. We tend to get a bit shaky after all that sitting, so re-train your balance by standing on one leg while brushing your teeth. Swap legs after 60 seconds.
If you’re anything like me, you need some extra motivation to move. I have a standing appointment with my personal trainer every Tuesday and Thursday, and because it’s an appointment I have to go, no matter my mood, otherwise, I’m stuck paying the cancellation fee. I’m by no means wealthy, but I prioritise my health and see my personal training as a far more important investment than a new pair of shoes. If you’re not in a financial position to do this, that’s cool! Get a friend who also wants to go for a run/swim/whatever, and make a standing appointment with them. If someone else is waiting for you, you’re less likely to ditch your walk for another episode of Breaking Bad.
Get outside during lunch
I cannot stress this enough. WE NEED SUNLIGHT! I have mentioned previously my disdain of the practice of eating lunch at a desk, as we need a physical break as well as a mental break for our bodies, minds and sanity. We also need sunlight!
The sun is vital for our Vitamin D production, which is vital for healthy bones. Just 10 minutes a day of face and arms uncovered whilst outside is enough to meet our quota, but people still struggle.
Once you’re out there, walk around the block. Stretch your hammys. Skip down the street or do a pirouette. I don’t mind, as long as it’s something.
Cook your own meals
It sounds trivial, but everything helps! The practice of cooking your own meals means that you’re standing and active for at least 30 minutes, probably eating healthier food and probably consuming less calories than what would be in that oil and cheese laden pizza that you would have otherwise ordered.
Stand while talking on the phone
If you’re taking a phone call – stand up! You don’t need to be sitting unless you’re taking notes, so see it as an opportunity for movement.
Lifts are banned
An oldie but a goodie – ALWAYS take the stairs. Always.