Slouching in front of a computer for hours on end, day after day, week after week, year after year, is terrible for our health. It is often referred to as the “new smoking” and it is for a good reason.
According to one study, researchers found that people who sit most of the day have an increased risk of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and some cancers compared to people who move around.
While the rise of flexible working has had positive impacts on Australian workers, it also tempts some employees into working longer hours while adopting poor posture, which can lead to aches and pains and more serious concerns. Throw in your nightly Netflix binges and you have got a real problem.
In addition to the metabolic and cellular health impacts, sitting for long periods of time can also negatively impact our musculoskeletal system. Our bones, muscles, and soft tissues respond to the positions and activities we perform the most. Therefore, if we sit at a desk, craning our neck towards the computer screen with our shoulders rolled forward and our hands on the keyboard for hours and hours on end, this is the position that our body will adapt to.
One of the problems (of which there are many) with this hunched postural position is that it causes our shoulders to move into a position that is less stable, less efficient, and less mobile. The muscles that support our shoulders and posture become tighter in some areas and weaker in others.
The good news is, that these health impacts can be mitigated by regular movement. Try to stand up from your desk every 20 to 30 minutes and go for a quick walk or perform some basic moves like squats, lunges or jumping jacks. To address the niggles associated with sitting for too long, try the below exercises.
THORACIC EXTENSION OVER FOAM ROLLER
Lie on your back with a foam roller underneath your upper back and hold your head in your hands to support your neck. Take a big breath in and as you exhale, slowly stretch your upper back over the foam roller. Repeat this several times, as often as you can, targeting different areas of the upper back.
BASIC SHOULDER/CHEST STRETCHES
Stand in front of a doorframe and bring your arms up to your side with elbows bent at 90 degrees (think of the “don’t shoot” position). With forearms resting on the doorframe, lean forward, keeping your head and chest up, feeling for the stretch across the front of your shoulders. Hold there for 5 or 6 big deep breaths, repeat several times throughout the day.
ROTATOR CUFF EXERCISE
You will need a Medifit Active Band for this one. Standing with elbows bent by your sides and palms up like you are carrying a tray of drinks in front of you, hold the resistance band in the palms of your hands. Pull your shoulders back, tighten up your tummy muscles, and keep your elbows at your sides as you pull the band apart. Perform 10-15 slow and controlled repetitions. Complete 2-4 sets.
UPPER BACK STRENGTHENING EXERCISES
These can be performed at the gym or at home with a simple Active Band. Using a cable row machine or having your band anchored around a fixed point in front of you, hold one handle in each hand with your arms extended out in front of your chest. Pull your shoulders blades back towards one another and bring your hands in towards your ribcage without shrugging your shoulders. Perform 10-15 repetitions. Complete 2-4 sets.
Keep in mind these are very general recommendations and anyone experiencing pain symptoms should seek the advice of a clinician before engaging in any new exercise program. That said, regular movement and exercise is critical for optimal health, not just to address a specific area but to help improve the way all of the bodies systems function and coordinate.
Australians enjoy one of the highest life expectancies in the world. Men today live nearly 80 years and women live 84 years, both up 25 years from a century ago. The physical health of older Australians is also improving, and most people (82 per cent) are positive about their quality of life.
Conditions such as Osteoporosis are fairly common in Australia with over 1.2 million Aussies being diagnosed, the majority of which are over 50. Osteoporosis is a condition that leads to your bones becoming frail and it can cause a lot of problems for those who are ageing.
To help Aussies to enjoy a better lifestyle as they get older, Rugby Union legend George Gregan and Matt Dixon have launched a new product range called Medifit. The range is designed to help Aussies improve or maintain their strength, increase flexibility & mobility and boost recovery. The range consists of products such as Active Bands, Active Tubes, Grip Strengthening Tools, Fascia Balls, Senso Balls, a Foam Roller and more. These products are lightweight & portable which makes them perfect to use at home, outdoors or when travelling.
Medifit strongly believes that Smarter Movement = Better Lifestyle and these products can help all Australians age actively and enjoy their lives to the fullest!
Disclaimer: This article provides general information only, and does not constitute health or medical advice. If you have any concerns regarding your physical or mental health, seek immediate medical attention.