Get On Up!
We all know James Brown was the hardest working man in show business, but did you know that he also dispensed some of the best fitness advice ever given? Get On Up! Those three simple words can solve one of our biggest problems.
I am guessing that the majority of you reading this have a job that keeps you sitting behind a desk most of the day. What does this do to us? It keeps us stationary, for one thing. That means we’re not burning calories. A 185 lb. person burns about 250 calories an hour while walking. That same person burns only about 80 calories while sitting. That’s a big difference. Replace one hour of sitting with walking each work day and you’ve lost a little over a pound per month. Doesn’t sound like much? That’s almost 15 pounds a year!
What else does sitting all day do to us? Well, how’s your back feeling? A little tight? Here’s why. Sitting puts our hips in a flexed position. This puts a group of muscles known as the hips flexors under constant tension. If you want a comparison, make a muscle with your arm. After you’re done looking at your impressive biceps think about how your arm would feel if you held it that way for eight hours. That’s what happens to our hip flexors. It relates to your back because tight hip flexors pull your spine out of its natural alignment and forces bad posture. This leads to back pain. Also, when we have tight hips our lower back has to move to make up for the fact that our hips can’t. That’s not good. Finally, sitting puts tremendous pressure on our vertebral discs, and I won’t even get into what happens with your shoulders when you type all day.
Luckily, there’s a simple way to help with all of this. GET ON UP! Literally. Just stand up and walk around. Most computers have some sort of appointment calendar. Set yours to alert you every 45 minutes to get up and take a stroll to the water cooler. If you’re too busy to do that, just work standing up for a few minutes.
Here is a quick move you can do. Stand up with room in front of and behind you. Put your hand on something to help you maintain balance and simply swing your leg forward and back. Squeeze your butt when swinging it behind and make sure you don’t arch your back. Try it, I’ll wait. There. Didn’t that feel good!
Simple changes like that can make a huge difference in how we feel. Drop me a line for some more ways to keep moving.
– from the Castro Valley Forum May 13, 2009
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