Get Up, Stand Up! Stand Up For Your LIFE!
Have you heard the phrase, “sitting is the new smoking”? Sitting has similar effects to smoking. For years, studies have been showing the ill effects of prolonged sitting and researchers continue to associate it to worse mental health, obesity, cancer, diabetes, bad cholesterol, disabilities, and even increased risk of death from any cause. However, converting to only a stand up desk and being on the feet all day is not necessarily the solution either. Even a daily hour of intense exercise does not undo the effects of 4 – 12 hours spent sitting. Instead, overall movement throughout the day is the answer.
Why? Our bodies are designed for movement and need it constantly throughout the day for optimal function. Movement creates circulation, the key to health. Circulation is vital to blood, lymph and metabolic functions. Blood transports nutrients, waste, oxygen, and hormones to and from our cells and organs. The lymphatic system, an often overlooked part of our circulatory system, is essential to immune system health.
Additionally sitting and standing in one place for too long creates repetitive stress and patterns of imbalance resulting in tension, muscle pattern imbalances, leading to injury, scar tissue, adhesions, pain. Being on our feet too long can result in swollen ankles/feet, aches, knee joint compression, and varicose veins.
Many folks come for massage to address problems in the neck, shoulders, upper back, plantar fasciitis, or the infamous low back trouble. Repetitive stress and extremes of sedentary and active time push our limits. Sitting all day, then doing an intense power workout can have disastrous results. I see too many pulled muscles from this routine and heard it plenty of times “No, I wasn’t doing anything unusual, just my normal workout.”
Then they mention a long car ride or a stressful, busy work week. Fatigued muscles from prolonged activity and weakened muscles from imbalances become landmines that don’t take much to trigger muscular damage and pain. Or they become a nagging pain that gets louder and louder – chronic tension that builds into a crisis if unmanaged.
The best solution to our screen-fixated and seated culture is frequent movement. Studies show we need movement after 20 minutes of sitting, and after 8 minutes of standing. Using a sit/stand workstation gives more variety of movement vs. just sitting or just standing.
As a whole, we are catching on to what other cultures have known and utilized for centuries – massage therapy for maintaining health. Workplaces have come to understand the value of onsite massage as it decreases workman’s comp claims and cultivates sustainability of the staff. Regular sessions not only help to maintain health and promote more body awareness, but can prevent a physical crisis. Noticing tension building is a sure sign to make changes and do something about it.
So, stand up, move around, use a footstool to put your feet up at work, do a few squats, core exercises, short walks, or flash dance. Feel moved! The workplace scene is changing as we honor our needs for health.