Updated: Nov 7, 2020
Sedentary lifestyles (i.e. not moving enough) are becoming an increasing burden on the population, and are associated with an increased risk of developing obesity, type-2 diabetes and heart disease. Not to mention the negative impact it has on the musculoskeletal system.
Many people wonder why or how they have ended up with e.g. back pain if they haven't done anything "strenuous" on their body, however, being sat or stood-still for long periods of time does place a considerable amount of stress onto the muscles, ligaments, tendons, joints and intervertebral discs. Furthermore, a significant factor influencing the development and maintenance of good bone density is movement, by loading the tissues enough to allow an adaptation to occur. Consequently, it is not at all surprising for people to be experiencing musculoskeletal dysfunctions if they are not moving enough.
On the other hand, many people do find it difficult to find the time to move, especially if they have a desk-based job. But thankfully there are many easy ways to increase the amount you move. Little and often is key!
Here are some suggestions to challenge you to MOVE MORE
throughout your working week:
Start the day right by doing some simple stretches or exercises e.g. whilst waiting for the kettle to boil or whilst brushing your teeth.
Walk/ cycle to work, or if you are driving ensure that you park your car at the opposite end of the car park so you can walk a little further.
Set a reminder on your phone/computer to prompt you to get up from your desk (try to do this every 30 minutes).
Take the stairs, it's often quicker than waiting for the elevator. Time yourself, try to do it quicker each day, even if you beat your time by a second!
Standing desks can be good, but try to sit down or walk every-so-often (as although you may feel as though you are, you still aren't moving).
Drink plenty of water to keep hydrated, this will encourage you to get up and take more frequent trips to the bathroom!
Make sure that you get time away from the desk at lunchtime, maybe suggest to a colleague to go out for a walk and have your lunch in a park.
Ask your osteopath for simple stretches to do at your desk, that you can do without getting too many strange looks from people at your office!
Head straight to an exercise class after work or go for a walk, suggest to a friend to join you to add to your motivation and commitment to attend.
The take home message from this article is for you to try to change shape OFTEN.
References: Wilmot EG, Edwardson CL, Achana FA, et al. (2012) Sedentary time in adults and the association with diabetes, cardiovascular disease and death: systematic review and meta-analysis. Diabetologia. Published online August 14 2012