Human bodies were not made for static postures. We are meant to be move at frequent intervals throughout the day. But this has become rare as most of us have a nine to five job and some of us work even longer hours.
Prolonged static sitting can lead to a poor posture as the body gradually collapses under the strain of lack of movement, leading to aches and pains in different parts of the body. Movement is important whether you are wheelchair bound, or an athlete or anywhere in between these two groups of population.
Let's look at the four main benefits of movement:
Muscles: We have more than 600 muscles in our body and they are a major contributor to stability, balance, coordination and many more important functions in the body. When we move the muscle fibre lengthen and shorten, preventing the age related loss of muscle mass, known as sarcopenia.
When our muscles are functioning at an optimal level there are lesser chances of muscular imbalances, i.e., weak or tight muscles in the body which translates to less chances of pain and discomfort in the body.
Bones: Bones are the basic framework of the body on which the muscles and ligaments are laid down and the organs are housed. Bones are made up of calcium and other minerals. As we age, the content of calcium and thus the density of bones decreases. This is known as osteoporosis or osteopenia (beginning stages of osteoporosis). When we move there is a pull on the bones which acts as a stimulus for calcium to be laid down into our bones. For those people who do not have enough movement during the day, the stimulus for calcium production decreases substantially and over a period of time it can lead to weaker bones and complications such as spinal and hip fractures.
Joints: When we move, the big joints of the body get lubricated by the fluid present within them. This is particularly important for reducing joint pain and stiffness, increasing flexibility and muscle strength in conditions such as arthritis. Movement also stimulates the production of this fluid that is needed for the optimal functioning of the joints and coordination and balance of the body.
Brain: As we age the connection between the nerves that connect different areas of the brain declines. This can manifest from forgetfulness to dementia to lack of name face association, etc. Every time we walk our brain regrows these nerve connections. It is speculated that walking 30 to 40 minutes a day, three times a week can help to grow the structures of the brain. If you are working and sitting in a chair all day long, make an effort to walk take out some time to go on a walk even if it means walking within the house or the office.
One easy way to manage lack of movement in your daily life is to move every 20 minutes when you are sitting. Your spine can take the weight of your body for 20 minutes after which the stresses on the spine begin to build up, predisposing you to the pathologies of the spine such as disk issues or spinal stenosis, etc. This obviously also depends on your physicals condition of the body and any pre existing illnesses.
So how much should we move?
If you're in a wheelchair, you can still move by doing some easy chair based exercises.
If you are into sports you can get enough movement through your training.
However the majority of the population lies in between this spectrum of people, that need most help with movement due to their lifestyles and poor postures.
If you'd like to know more about easy ways to introduce or increase the amount of movement that can fit into your busy day, feel free to join my free community. We have a training in there on 'Posture tips and tricks' that can help you maintain a good posture throughout the day.
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