The act of sitting has a lot to answer for!October 23, 2011
Apparently cavemen were not big sitters – too busy clubbing prey or running from mammoths I guess. But as man evolved from the Stone Age into the Digital Age, and communicating via the cave wall was superseded by posting on a facebook wall, the evils of prolonged sitting had well and truly set in.
When we are not hunched over our office computers we are sitting through lengthy commutes in our cars or on public transport, huddled in front of the television or wrapped around our iPhones. It’s this sedentary lifestyle which is taking its toll on our body and our health.
Prolonged sitting leads the muscle systems to act on the spine and limbs to become imbalanced. The flexor muscles in the calf, hamstring, upper abs, hip and pecs become tight, while the extensor muscles in the front of the calf, inner thigh, gluts, deep back and back of shoulder weaken – culminating in a flexion bias. This bias or imbalance can lead to lower back problems, a twisted pelvis, hamstring and calf tears, and knee pain – not to mention a range of other debilitating conditions.
Stretching the tight flexors using the reciprocal inhibition principle can help if the problem is severe. This involves contracting the weak extensors using Cobra back extensions and Warrior lunge stretches to relax the flexors. However the best way to avoid such aggravation is to incorporate as much walking into your daily routine as possible, preventing the muscle imbalance to set in.
Between the cubicle, the commute and the couch, it’s time we stood up from our seats and for our health! Take a cue from our Neanderthal predecessors – stop staring at your wall and explore outside the cave.
On that note, and at the risk of appearing hypocritical, I’m signing off and stepping out.