A very interesting review as to why the positions you decide to place your body in throughout the day will determine how you look, feel and function. Have you ever been to SeaWorld or Marineland? If so, you may want to watch the documentary Blackfish about the Orca whale in captivity (not pretty).
Orca whale in captivity may develop a condition called flaccid fin syndrome which result from:
1. Pattern swimming – swimming mainly in one direction going in circles
2. Resting at the surface – gravity takes over
3. Warmer water temperatures
4. Lower hydration
5. Genetics with lack of exercise
This condition is analogous to sitting from the age 4-40 for 12-16 hours per day. What most of us likely do or have done every day. The position of your body will ultimately cast your body into that position. Wonder why your posture is so bad. And so difficult to correct.
I am often asked what is the best posture or position for the body. Drum roll please……………the next position. Just doing one thing over and over again is the problem. Any position for too long will hurt you in the long run. Constant movement is optimal for our DNA. We were made to move.
This is why it would be ridiculous for a young child to be forced to sit still. The greatest skill that is developed and learned in school is to sit still and not move.
In our modern world we have ironically progressed and specialized to make things very easy and efficient requiring practically no movement throughout your day.
Let’s review a basic day for the vast majority of modern society:
– I will assume you slept in a proper position.
– Wake up and head to sit at toilet (remember we once had to squat and use full ankle, knee and hip mobility to get down and up). May want to add these to your morning routine.
– Sit to eat breakfast ( we often break our fast with not the best choices, see What do YOU eat.
– Sit to drive to work with a rounded spine with “computer posture’ for ten minutes to two hours.
– Sit at work for 7-10 hours and often eat lunch at your desk seated.
– Sit to commute home
– Eat dinner seated
– Watch TV seated for 2-4 hours and then off to bed for some well-deserved rest to that repetitively strained injury on your entire body and especially your spine and nervous system (assuming you sleep in a decent position).
You can spend hours per week purchasing, prepping, cooking and eating very nutritious food and forget that movement is nutrition for your body. Your body is starving for movement that it needs for you to live a optimal life.
What can we do:
– a rule that the only time you sit is to go to the bathroom, eat, and work on mobility (see What is your movement practice?).
– before you eat breakfast do some type of movement (eating together is important as we are social creatures)
– walk, bike, run instead of driving to get groceries, complete errands, drop off and pick up kids, go to work.
– Carry children in your arms and constantly move them (different arm hold to, piggy back, on shoulders, etc.). This is good for their core and yours. It is natural to switch positions when fatigued and decreases load on tissue.
– If you work in a standing environment request a standing workstation (***standing is not the solution, standing allows for more movement than sitting***)
– At work have a yoga mat, wobble disc, yoga block. You are only limited by your creativity for getting into different position for work. The internet is a great resource. Different body position can be explored to improve your mobility while you are working.
– Spend at least one to thirty minutes per day in a squat position
– Spend at least ten minutes per day on core stability and mobility work/movement practice.
– Use technology to help and not hamper your body
– Engage your partner and/or kids in movement as the normal thing to do.
– Sit on the floor instead of the couch to tune out and read or watch TV
Ergonomics looks at the best way to load body. This perspective comes from the idea that optimal way to do a single thing over and over again will mitigate .Just doing one thing over and over again is the problem.
Feed your body well with movement!