How can all of these problems be caused by sitting?
Let start with the basics. Chairs and the ground are rigid structures that do not budge. When you are sitting, you are literally being squashed by gravity and the weight of your head and upper-body into a rigid surface.
Kinda like this:
When you are standing upright your discs and bones can tolerate lots of weight because of the shape of your spine.
However, when you sit, your spine is in a deformed position. The weight of the world, so to speak, is now on the discs and the joints of your spine. Muscles and ligaments are also being stressed in weird positions. And your body adapts to this position.
Over time your discs collapse, some muscles get shorter, others get longer, and your joints change shape. Not just at the spine, but all over your body.
You might have some pain when sitting but what happens when you stand up and try to move? Uh-Oh. Those discs, muscles, ligaments and joints can’t move the way they need to and you feel stiff, achy and eventually you will have pain.
Our bodies are great movers, not sitters and the more you sit the faster you will lose your ability to move. Just take a look back up at those pictures of sitting. They may be a little extreme to show a point but can you now see how sitting may cause some serious problems?
You may develop headaches from the stress on the neck and upper back muscles. You may have foot and knee pain from tightness in your lower body. You may get carpal tunnel syndrome from the tightness in your shoulders and arms. And that doesn’t even count the low back pain, hip pain and shoulder problems that come from poor posture and weakness developed over time.
One of the most common problems we see from too much sitting on your derriere is weakness of the gluteus maximus, medius and minimus, the butt muscles. But you don’t have to suffer from DBS (dead butt syndrome) or any other problems of sitting if you follow these guidelines:
1) Find non-sitting activities that are interesting and fun: walking, hiking, dancing or flying a kite to name a few. The more you incorporate physical activity into your daily activities the less time you will spend sitting.
2) When you do have to sit, sit in the chair appropriately: feet flat on the floor, hip width apart, low back supported by the chair. If you can’t sit all the way back into the chair without rounding your low back use bolsters or pillows to sit supported or sit up tall unsupported using your muscles. The goal is to maintain an erect spine with good head/neck position.
3) If you have to sit for long periods of time (school, work, travel) be sure to do the following prep/recovery strategies before and after.
- Use a Foam Roller to relieve stress on your back
- Stretch your spine in all 3 planes to relieve low back strain
4) Break up your sitting. If you have to sit for long periods of time, stand up every 20 minutes to stretch and move around. No more binge watching The Walking Dead. Go for a short walk or do something active between episodes.
Your body needs to move well AND move often (Thanks Gray Cook) to be healthy. Sitting gets in the way of both of those. Sitting improperly, too long, and too often is a disaster for your body. Keep your body moving and enjoy life’s great pleasures for years to come.
WHY ARE YOU STILL SITTING THERE READING THIS?
STAND UP! GET OUTSIDE! MOVE!
and have great healthy movement for life,
Neil and the Level 3 Fitness team
5/25/16 4 Movements to Relieve your Foot Pain
Last week we released Part 1 of this article series all about your feet.
In that article I discussed why your feet are so important and why they may be causing you problems.
Today in Part 2, I will be covering some simple things you can do at home to help your feet and possibly other parts of your body.
Let's get right to it.
The following tips can easily be done every day, some even while brushing your teeth .
1) Massage each foot with a tennis ball, ½ ball (which we sell at Level 3 Fitness) lacrosse ball, racquetball, or any of the little knobby gizmos you can buy, they will all work.
Spend 1 minute on each foot going from each toe to your heel to make sure you get every spot.
2) Get on your hands and knees with your ankles bent and your toes underneath. Now rock back GENTLY to stretch your feet and ankles - 20x
3) Now repeat with your feet pointed to stretch the tops of your feet - 20x
4) Stretch your calves the Level 3 Fitness way - Stand near a wall with one foot back and the other closer to the wall. Make sure both feet are facing straight toward the wall. Your back foot should be far enough away from the wall to feel a light stretch in your lower leg. Now rotate your hips each way feeling the stretch change around your ankles and feet as you turn each way. Make sure you keep your feet planted and your heels down as you rotate your hips.
Click on picture above for video
Do these four simple movements daily for the next 2 weeks and see how your body responds, then let me know how you feel by emailing me at Neil@Level3Fit.com.
Stay tuned for upcoming articles about choosing footwear and how your feet are directly connected to the rest of your body though chain reactions. We may even answer the question "How does rubbing my feet relieve my headaches?"
Keep your feet healthy, Neil
P.S. If you have any questions please email us at Support@Level3Fit.com. We may even turn your questions into future articles.
Why do my feet hurt (Part 1)
“Ouch! I can’t do it anymore.
You really want me to be your friend when you treat me like this?
You step on me and expect me to be your cushion, your support, your friend and help you move also?
I am tired, beaten up, squished, shoved, and neglected.
I will not take it anymore!!!
What have you done for ME lately?
“This is your foot calling and I have had it!”
I don’t ask for much, but a little love and care would go a long way.
-almost every foot at some point in time
OK, it's a bit of a cheesy intro but I think I made my point. Now wouldn't it be great if you had...
You would be in the minority because:
-75-80% of people have some sort of foot pain.
-Women are 4x more likely than men to have foot pain.
That is a lot of people in a lot of pain, and that means that more than likely you have foot pain too.
If you don't have foot pain, you probably have pain somewhere else and it may be caused by your feet and I'll get to that shortly.
Look at these stats and you will see why your feet hurt so much.
1) There are 52 bones in our feet, over 25% of all the bones and they have to provide structure and support for the rest of the body. Lots of small bones taking on our weight.
2) There are 33 joints in each foot that allow you to adapt to any surface and shock absorb. That is a lot of moving parts working together.
3) There are over 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments that help provide strength, stability, and balance for standing, walking, running and every other movement that you do. Lots of things to get strained.
4) Each foot has to be able to support approximately 2-3x your bodyweight on each step and you will take close to 3 million steps every year. That's a lot of steps.
Simple math time: let’s say that you weigh 150 lbs, your foot supports 300 lbs on every step, times 1.5 million steps/foot/year = 450 million lbs per year on each foot. That is the equivalent of doing over 16,000 push-ups every day. Hmmmm, no wonder they give us problems when we don’t care for them.
5) Shoes were originally designed to protect our feet from the environment. A simple piece of rubber strapped to the feet was good enough for the Tarahumara Indians to run distances of over 50 miles. Then modern shoe companies decided to design them to shock absorb, and support, and stop pronation, and cure polio...and give you a firmer backside and slimmer calves and all they have truly done is increase injury rates.
9 out of 10 women and 5 out of 10 men are in the wrong size shoe.
Studies have looked at which shoe types are best for which foot types. The only conclusion that is universal is that the more control the shoe provides the higher the injury risk to the person, regardless of foot type.
This leads to 1 conclusion,
Shoes are not a Wo/mans' best friend
So what I am trying to tell you is that feet have a lot of bones, joints, and muscles which are vulnerable when we mess with them in bad ways.
Improper shoes are the number 1 way we mess with them in bad ways.
I am not saying that you should go barefoot but be wary of the “fashionable” shoe that doesn’t fit quite right but “looks good.” (I promise to shed more light on footwear choices in a future article)
You probably don't take care of your feet properly when they aren't in shoes either. Don't feel bad, you just haven't been taught what to do. It's human nature, we neglect our feet until something goes wrong.
Bottom line: Your feet are really, really, really...really important and we are doing a bad job of taking care of them, unknowingly.
Over the next few emails I will teach you how your feet can cause problems throughout your body and even cause headaches. And most importantly I will also show you how to take care of them properly so that they will take care of you.
Look out for these emails over the next week or so as I figure out how to upload videos and pictures to better help you.