We’ve all heard the saying that sitting is the new smoking. Not only is the average office worker spending about 8 hours (1/3 of their day) sitting at a desk, they are doing so with poor posture. After time this takes a toll on the body causing muscles to adapt to these abnormal postures in an unequal distribution which causes muscular tightness resulting in pain and predisposing the body to injury. Not only do the negative effects of sitting predispose the body to pain and injuries but research has also demonstrated that sitting for more than 2 hours at a time can increase the risk of heart disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and cancer. Even with regular exercise, sitting for too long can be as much of an occupational risk as physical labor on the job.
Let’s think about the position the body is in when we’re sitting. The legs are in a flexed position with the torso slumped forward, the shoulders rounded and a forward head carriage. This position creates muscular imbalances in both the upper and lower body. In the lower body the result is tightness in the hip flexors and lower back musculature with weakness in the gluteal and abdominal musculature. This phenomenon is called lower crossed syndrome. Similarly, in the upper body this position results in tightness in the pectoral muscles and the posterior neck muscles with weakness in the anterior neck flexors and upper back musculature. This phenomenon is called upper crossed syndrome. Both of these two syndromes also result in joint dysfunction and can lead to pain.
Fortunately, there are some things that can be done to prevent the negative effects associated with sitting from occurring, one of them being regular chiropractic treatment. Chiropractic care is one way to prevent and correct the muscular tightness and restore any joint dysfunction caused by these two sets of muscular imbalances. It is extremely important to focus on this in order to prevent any further dysfunction or injuries that may occur. Some additional tips include to reducing the amount of time spent sitting as much as possible, get up and move for 2 minutes for every 30 minutes spent sitting and to practice good posture by keeping the head and shoulders back.
Running Season is Here! What Stretches Should You Be Doing?
As summer begins it’s the time of year when everyone is lacing up their running shoes and taking advantage of the warm weather. There is no doubt that running is great exercise, however, often running comes along with injuries and soreness. Proper stretching is extremely important for runners! Whether you are running a marathon, a 5k or just doing a jog around the block stretching is important! We commonly get asked which stretches runners should be doing so here is a quick guide.
Dynamic stretching should be done BEFORE a workout or run. Dynamic stretches are ones that involve moving through a range of motion. Some good dynamic stretches to do before a run include:
- Walking Lunges: Begin standing with your feet shoulder width apart and your hands on your hips. Step forward with one leg, bend both knees and drop your hips. Descend until your rear knee touches or nearly touches the ground. Your posture should remain upright, and your front knee should stay above the front foot. Then switch legs.
- Squat Jumps: Start by doing a regular squat, then engage your core and jump up explosively. When you land, lower your body back into the squat position to complete one rep. Land as quietly as possible and try to keep control of the movement.
- Hip Circles: Begin standing on one foot and hold onto something to keep your balance with one arm. Raise the other leg up to 90 degrees and rotate the hip in a clockwise and then counterclockwise direction. Then switch legs.
- Cossack Squats: Start with your legs about two shoulder lengths apart. Descend most of your weight onto one leg while keeping the other leg out and straight to the side. Alternate back and forth while trying to keep the feet in the same spot.
3 sets of 10 reps of each of these on each side is generally a good warm up!
Static stretching should be done AFTER a workout or run. Static stretches involve holding a stretch in one place for a period of time. Some good static stretches that can be done after a run include:
- Calf Stretch: Stand facing a wall from several feet away. Stagger your stance, placing one foot forward. Lean forward and rest your hands on the wall, keeping your heel, hip and head in a straight line. Attempt to keep your heel on the ground as you lean forward into the wall.
- Hamstring Stretch: Stand with the leg to be stretched just in front of the other one. Bend the back knee and lean forward from the hips. Place your hands on the bent leg’s thigh, to balance yourself. If you can’t feel a stretch, lean further forwards or tilt your pelvis forwards.
- Quad Stretch: Stand on one leg and pull the other leg up to the glutes with one or both hands. Try to keep your knees together and push your hips forward to increase the stretch.
All of these should be held for 10-30 seconds on each leg.