Most of the people are sitting a lot more in their lives than they should. This happens when they are driving, because of their desk jobs, or simply because they are being lazy.
Be that as it may, the human body is not supposed to sit for long periods of time, because the evolution considered moving to be necessary. But, technology made our lives much easier, but it made us less active.
There are people that will decide to stand instead of sit, but they should know that they will be making the same mistake, because this article is essentially about movement versus inactivity.
Optional vs. non-optional sitting
Us humans are creatures that are designed to be active, and if we see the situation that most of us are in today, we will notice that the exact opposite is happening. So, it should not come as a surprise when health issues are beginning to happen.
A little known fact is that we are shortening our life expectancy by two hours for every 60 minutes that we spend sitting down. It sounds preposterous but it is a scientifically proven fact.
Dr. James Lavine said the exact same thing. Also, we get 11 minutes taken out of our lives with each cigarette that we smoke. This is not us promoting cigarettes, but we are just making a comparison that sometimes, sitting can be as much, if not more dangerous than cigarettes.
In order for an individual to have a healthy life, he/she must stop smoking and try to be more active. We mentioned earlier that standing cannot replace sitting, and that is because the nature has designed the human body for a wide range of motions, and when you stand, you cannot offer your body the activity that it needs.
There is some good news however, and it is that there is a way in which you can sit, which can benefit your overall health. You just need to sit right. You can divide the time between non-optional and optional sitting.
If you are in a meeting, or you are sitting in your car, that is considered to be a non-optional sitting, but the rest of the situations where sitting can be avoided, are considered to be optional.
Unwanted behavior blocking
It is common for most of us to sit for as much as 13 hours every day! The goal is to replace most of the time that we spend sitting, not by standing up, but with moving, because standing up can take a toll on the body. People that have to stand in yoga positions, or those who have jobs that require standing for a long time, know how tiring and brutal it can be.
The principle here is to create an environment that can reflect the physiology of a person, instead of forcing its physiology to conform to the environment.
This is called blocked behavior pattern, where you get no saying in the decision. In other words, the decision is already made for you. This is why it is important that we create an environment around us which will allow us to choose to move, instead of sitting down.
The decision we will make will be ours, and no one should force it on us. For an example, when you are sitting at the table with the legs crossed, you are sitting in a positions that allows you to move more. In this position you can move your legs and hips more feely. That is the thing that we are talking about, and that is what you should be setting your sights on.
The risk of mortality and the sitting-rising test
There is a study which can predict the mortality risk of an individual, by its ability to stand up from the floor. It is a simple logic. If an individual has to use his hands, knees or something else to help him stand up, then that individual has a poor motion that shows his general weakness. For a clear demonstration, you need to check out the video above.
The bottom line here is that the humans evolved, as creatures that can sit on the ground, with their legs crossed while working. So, in order to see improvements, you can switch to the floor or an exercise ball, rather than a desk chair.
External hip rotation, and the importance of it
This is very important, because if you cannot rotate your hips sufficiently, it can lead to issues like bunions. The rule here is that if you have some type of imbalances in your movements, it will eventually lead to health complications and injuries.
The best way to rearrange your shoulders and hips into their position is to squeeze your buttocks. You will get the feeling that the outside of your legs tighten, and you will feel like your feet are pulling outward.
This will correct the relationship between your femur and pelvis. It will also make your lumbar more stable, because the pelvis will be more stable on your femur. This way, you will give support to your spine. All these things are connected, and in order to have a strong body, you absolutely must have a strong foundation.
Pain represents a natural indicator of the mechanics of the body
The human body represents a neurobiological, mechanical system. It is worth mentioning that the pain, stiffness and the decreased mobility that we experience and feel is not pathological.
In most cases it comes as a result of insufficient movement throughout the day, and a way to improve the mechanics of the body is to sit tall. That way, you can realign your head into the position that it is supposed to be.
When the mechanics of the body are efficient, then the pain and the tightness will soon begin to disappear.
The tissues should be painless to compression
When we say that, we mean moderate compression. If you run a foam roller on your back, legs, glutes or shoulders, and if you experience any pain in the process, then you see the signs of unnatural stiffness that your body is putting up with.
The easiest way to relieve stiffness is to contract the muscle that feels painful, while leaning into the foam roller for a couple of seconds. After that time, just release and continue with the process until you feel the pain and the stiffness go away.
In the process of doing this, please pay attention to your breathing, because that is an indicator that will tell you if you are overdoing it or not.
Daily soft tissue workout
This is a workout that can create parasympathetic response in the human body. This means that it will release you out of the fight or flight mode. By doing so, it will allow you to enter recovery mode, which is the same as you would get from a 15-minute massage.
While it is a very nice feeling to have a professional get you a massage, doing exercise routines on your own has been proven to be more beneficial. So, take that massage roller and massage yourself every day for at least couple of minutes.
Also, you need to stay active during the day, but also you need to take a good care of yourself. This will eventually grow into a habit, and you will start to feel so much better.
How schools see movement?
Because movement is very important, we need to change the way that schools see that. In order to do that, they need to replace the sitting desks with standing ones, and each one of the desks should be adjusted for the height of each child.
There is a research data which shows us that kids with ADHD, find it very hard to learn without moving and fidgeting. That is why the schools should have a fidget bar. This way, the movement will remain.
These kinds of schools are very important, because they allow kids to follow their instincts to keep moving around.
The bottom line
We, as humans, started using our bodies in the wrong way, and that is why diabetes and obesity are at an all-time high. We ignore the instincts that we are born with and we choose sitting instead of being more active.
This way, we are exposing ourselves to numerous health problems, and we need to do something about that. But, that does not mean that we should all of a sudden go out and run a marathon. We should not make a massive change like that, instead we should take one step at a time.
It is best to start slow, and then step by step, build up our activeness. Also, never forget to rest and to give the muscles some rest with the foam roller.