Sitting for prolonged periods is devastating to our health. The human body has been designed to contract and expand – all joints should be moved through their full ranges every day – #Yoga practice can help this immensely.
If you don’t use the ranges of your joints, you will lose that range. Sadly, the large proportion of our population has lost the ability to deep/resting squat. Something we can do from our very first months on Earth, we lose over time by sitting on chairs. We rarely go past a 90 degree bend in the knees during normal activity – the muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints lose their #mobility and the inactive human more quickly approaches the stiffness of a dying body – although rigor mortis only happens once dead, this would indicate that movement is life and long inactive periods are death in every sense.
What’s more, internally there is a huge mess caused – the organs and muscular arrangements adapt to the new postures – the intestine becomes pinched on the toilet seat and obstructs smooth bowel movement. The diaphragm becomes weak and lacks the strength to hold the chest high.
Former NASA scientist, Dr. Joan Vernikos, has compared sitting in a chair for prolonged periods to being “weightless in space”. This is due to the fact that the muscles, bones, joints, and other tissues aren’t supporting themselves naturally any longer.
Now it’s not that sitting is bad – it’s more so how we’re sitting. The Asian culture very heavily emphasises sitting on the floor, as a more natural way of resting and getting up from resting. The human body was never designed to sit in a chair with certain muscles completely shutting off, while others are being dramatically over-stressed. The hips and legs are the engine of the body – without developing them we lack and leak huge amounts of power through our movement.
Your glute muscles atrophy which makes keeping stable and powerful hips a myth during running, jumping and walking. This also changes the sequencing of muscle activation, sending extra stress into the lower back and hamstrings. The discs of the spine move into compromised positions, the core slowly switches off and the body literally falls into slumber.
These are just some of the many problems caused by sitting for long periods – “Being able to sit comfortably in a resting squat position is tied to being human.”
Try these out for some fixes:
- 20 deep bodyweight squats every morning to wake up the body and joints
- Sit on a Swiss Ball at work, or stand intermittently
- Walk around a bit every 30m or so – seriously, your body will thank you
- Stretch your hips, shoulders, legs and spine regularly – explore your body’s ranges – keep your mobility, flexibility and agility! It is more important to health than raw strength!