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Sitting Is At The Root Of All Kinds Of Evil For Your Spine
In our industrialized society most people sit a majority of the time. We sit in the car and commute to the office, then we sit at work staring at a computer 4 hours and then we go to lunch and sit and eat. Then we go back to the office and sit another 4 hours and then get back in the car drive home. Later after sitting at dinner we will sit on the couch and watch television another 3 hours and then go to bed! WOW!!! That is a lot of sitting! Lets look at sitting a little closer...what happens to our bodies when we sit?
Well the longer you sit the more your posture begins to breakdown. If you are sitting for a few minutes it is much easier to keep a good posture. When you sit for hours the chances that your posture is breaking down is very high. So tip #1 is to sit as little as possible. If you can stand to do a task then do it. A least once per hour you want to get out of your chair and walk around and change the posture that you are in...something that helps you to remember to do this is to drink lots of water...which is tip #2. Drinking at least 8 glasses of water per day...preferably more. A good rule of thumb is to ...
... only drink water and drink approximately 1/2 of your body weight in ounces per day. So if you weigh 150 pounds then you should drink 75 ounces of water per day. The more you weigh the more you need to drink to be healthy. So if you are drinking water all day then you will need to get up and go to the bathroom which will greatly benefit your spine as well...it's a win-win. The third tip is to change positions as much as possible when you are sitting. Change the angle of your chair, the height of your chair, move things around throughout the day. Your body gets bored sitting in the same position all the time! Move around! Our bodies were made to move! The sitting position according to fitness expert Juan Carlos Santana does four main things to your body....
1. Creates muscular weakness
2. Low Functional Capacity, which can lead to being overweight, orthopedic problems with the joints, spine and other chronic problems
3. Short and Weak hip flexors-the muscles that allow you to flex your hip become both short and weak which can lead to lower back pain and other problems
4. A Spine that collapses into flexion due to fatigue-head will move forward, shoulders will slouch, upper back will round...think of a little old lady bent forward over her walker!
Some of the best ways to break these habits is exercise. Tip #4 is to exercise as much as you possibly can. As we exercise we begin to break through the chronic patterns that are muscles, ligaments, tendons, joints, nerves etc. get in to. Well what exercise is best? I always say the best exercise is the one that you will do consistently!!! You can learn all sorts of different exercises but if you don't do them...it doesn't matter! Good general exercise is walking, swimming even using the elliptical. However, you don't want to have an exercise that you are primarily sitting for...if you sit all day...get your body in a different position! So stay away from biking, rowing, and other primarily sitting exercises.
Tip #5 is to work on that posture. One great exercise for posture is called the Bruegger Exercise. The Bruegger is an excellent exercise to improve forward head posture and rounded shoulders...two of the most common postural problems associated with over sitting. To perform the Bruegger stand up against the wall with your heels, buttocks, shoulder blades and head all touching the wall. Next drop your shoulder blades down toward the floor, turn your hands out away from your body and tuck your chin over your spine. This is the type of exercise that you can't do too much. You can do it 10 times a day if you want. Also the key with posture is endurance. Holding your body in a good posture for a long time. So hold the Bruegger position for between 15-30 seconds every time that you do it. If you get any numbness, tingling or pain visit a upper cervical chiropractor who can help you diagnose and treat underlying structural problems that may be present. The keys to doing it right is to keep the shoulders down away from the ears so that you are activating the muscles around the shoulder-blade. You also want to keep the head in line with the spine and not jutting forward. Keep the hands turned out away from the body. When doing this position you are reversing all of the motions that you normally perform while seated. It is a great exercise but again consistency is the key. It needs to be done daily to make a difference for someone who sits all the time. If you have any questions you can visit my website and view a video of me talking a patient through the exercsie under patient resources. Other good anti-sitting exercises can be viewed on YouTube including.... Diagonal Chop, Side Bridge, Opposite Arm, Opposite Leg Reach
Dr. William R. Davis Jr., D.C. is a Oceanside Chiropractor and Upper Cervical Specialist. He is in private practice in Southern California in the city of Vista. He specializes in correcting problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). More information can be found on his website at www.nuccawellness.com/
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