Harnessing an intense focus is often times how we power through a project. The mind can accomplish wonderful things. However, sometimes this focus at work can come at a cost to our bodies. Especially if we are seated in front of the computer for too long a period of time.
These static positions are proving to be detrimental to our health. Not only can this lead to poor posture, headache, back pain and other pain in the wrist and elbows...but also to our systemic health. As humans, we are designed to move. When we sit, our heart rate drops down, our endocrine system slows down, and a host of ramifications follow. Over many years, desk jobs contribute to cardiac disease and adult onset diabetes mellitus. Staying sedentary is now compared to smoking...hence the phrase, sitting is the new smoking. When at work, there are a few rules you can follow to keep your body moving at its best.
- Take a regular break. At least once per hour, aim to stand up, sit down, stretch (see below), go for a walk or do some limited amount of movement. Set a reminder in your phone.
- Always take the stairs. Make it a rule when you approach a stair case or escalator to always take the stairs. Passive exercise increases your heart rate, burns calories, and works your musculoskeletal system.
- Instead of email, walk papers/files down the hall to a colleague a few times a day. This will keep you moving in a practical fashion and be helpful to your health.
- Stretch (see below)
- Cycle/walk/run to work a few days a week. Life is busy. Combine transport with exercise.
Exercise continues to be the best way for you to look after your body. The best way for you to ensure compliance is if you enjoy the activity; therefore, the best exercise is the one which you enjoy doing.
This March, we encourage you to try a new fitness activity. This can be any challenge, change, goal, sport or hobby. From trapeze, to rock climbing, bouldering, biking, Pilates, yoga, swimming, running, dancing or any other type of activity...just give it a go. If not this month, when will you find time to increase your fitness?
Dr. Bulman has taken up weight lifting. He has started doing some key exercises, including squats, deadlifts and overhead presses. He had a great Personal Training session at a local gym, and is looking to continue on a weight training routine 2 times a week.
Resistance training is one of the best ways for men in their 30s and 40s to maintain muscle tone, power, testosterone levels and prevent injuries often times associated with weekend warriors (those amateur adults who are inconsistent with playing sport and prone to injury).
Resistance training is also very effective for women of all ages, and will help prevent (and reverse!) osteoporosis. Even active populations benefit from this specific training. I encourage you to visit a local gym, get an intro session with a personal trainer or knowledgeable friend, and give it a go.
At Sports N Spine, we also have exercise software that can help guide you through proper technique should you have questions on how to perform certain movements. We now subscribe to Physitrack, and can email specific exercises with videos reminding you how to perform the exercise, progressing the exercise. Ask us at your next consult to include this in your rehabilitation program.
But just for today, here are some stretches you can do in the office (A small taste of the thousands of exercises and videos available through Physitrack at Sports N Spine).