Have you ever tried using a dishwasher to clean your clothes? Probably not right? Although it might actually get the job done to some extent, it’s definitely not what a dishwasher was intended for. Similar to this, every day so many of us are using our bodies for something other than what it was made to do: move!
It’s in the design
We are made up of 650 skeletal muscles and 206 skeletal bones, all of which are there to provide one of our primary functions called locomotion. Without these, we might as well be plants, stuck in the same place for a lifetime. We have the unique ability to move our bodies in so many awesome ways, whether it is to get from place to place, excel in a certain sport or create art through dance. So why are we not making use of what we have?
Instead we SIT… at work, whilst driving, when we eat, watch TV (pretty much 80-90% of our day). Yes, I am pointing out the obvious here, but what’s important is to understand and realise the impact this has on us. Sedentary lifestyle (now dubbed “the sitting disease”) is one of the biggest risk factors for many chronic diseases and illness including Coronary Heart Disease, Hypertension, Diabetes, Obesity, Osteoporosis, Strokes, Depression and poor posture. Doesn't that make you want to get up & go for a walk right about now? ;)
Think of your body as a car, keeping it parked for an extended time causes some parts to become rusty and even fail completely. Similarly, when muscles and joints aren't used during long periods of static positions (sitting, standing, laying down) , the muscles weaken and joints loose their mobility. From there, we enter this terrible cycle where you try to move your 'rusty' body parts and they just don't work - so you start moving incorrectly causing pain and even more damage - YIKES!
The GREAT news is that it doesn't have to be this way - all you need to do is get up & move, this gets blood flowing through those muscles & keeps those joints movable...you're body will repay you in years of health, strength & mobility.
Pick your FIX:
A few tips to start moving more...
1. Stand more, sit less - try to create a standing workspace where possible (using a DeskStand can help with this), stand while eating or during meetings
2. Walk it out - create opportunities to walk during lunch, before/after work, skip the parking hassles and rather walk to places close by, park as far away as possible - those legs can get you to shop
3. Get outdoors - add leisure time activities during your weekly schedule by including the whole family (eg. bike rides, hikes, walks around the neighbourhood)
4. Make it easy - by placing some exercise equipment in your TV room (light weights, exercise bands, pilates ball, mat) so the next time you're watching TV just grab something and start moving
5. Don't trust elevators ;) - stick to the fail-safe combo of your legs & the stairs
Most importantly, find something that's FUN for you! Whether it's dancing, rock climbing, jogging, walking, cycling, swimming, playing with your kids in the park rather than watching them, jumping on a trampoline... live a little. The more you enjoy it, the easier it will be to stick to it!