How often does this scenario happen? It's the weekend, your out enjoying yourself in whatever activity you love, and BAM! something in the body doesn't feel right. It may be your back, neck, knee, elbow or any other body part. The simplest activity just caused an injury. A series of thoughts run through your mind like, "What the...?", "I don't deserve this!", or "Why is this happening?".
For most, all of this can be contributed to lack of mobility and strength, which happens when you sit the majority of your days. In a perfect world, you should be able to go out, enjoy life and be prepared for whatever gets thrown your way.
As a certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and Level 3 Fascial Stretch Specialist, I hear these scenarios played out more than I’d like for my clients. My goal is to help people build strength and mobility, which ultimately correlates to a better quality of life but after seeing the effects that sitting and poor posture has had for so many, I decided to help others with this series: From Desk Life to Best Life.
HAVE YOU HEARD?
Sitting is the new smoking. How can sitting possibly be worse than smoking??? Well here’s some bad news kids…sitting is actually much worse than smoking. *Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, deadlier than HIV, and more treacherous than parachuting.
Think about how much you actually sit….
Wake up in the morning and sit down for breakfast
Commute to work in that horrible seat in your car
Sit at your desk for at least 8-9 hours
Commute home in bumper to bumper traffic
Get home, eat some dinner and sit on the couch and catch up on some recorded TV
DON'T BE A SLOUCH
We always think of the negative effects of sitting in anatomical terms (think bones, ligaments, fascia and how it relates to posture, pain and tightness) but there are also some physiological effects as well. When you sit with a slouched, forward head posture staring down at your laptop or other device, you start to compromise your breathing patterns. Sitting like this doesn't allow your body to take in deep diaphragmatic breathes which help keep your body nice and calm. You start taking short quick breathes which tricks your brain into thinking you’re entering “fight or flight”. When this happens, your body starts to release stress hormones and compromises your ability to ever relax. Combine that with lots of caffeine, normal stresses of life and no wonder you have a hard time going to sleep at night! So what do we do?
WE START MOVING!
The more you incorporate movement in to your day, the better. You can’t combat sitting all day with 1 hour at the gym; you have to start moving a little bit. Located below are some simple stretches that can be incorporated all day.
QUICK TIPS: Neck Stretches
QUICK TIPS: Wrist & ankle stretches
QUICK TIPS: Spine Stretches
Sprinkle these stretches throughout your day. Here are some examples of when you can incorporate them:
When you first get to your desk
Before you take a break for lunch
A few hours after lunch when you start getting that midday crash
When you get home from work
Before you go to bed
They take less than a few minutes, so there is no excuse. When your coworkers start looking at you, just say, “Hey, I’m trying to move and feel better.” and soon they will probably join you. Set alarms on your phone (the only way my wife and I can ever remember anything). Set reminders on your work computer to get up and stroll around the office. All off these little pieces add up to a much larger piece.
In the 2nd installment of From Desk Life to Best Life, I will go over FASCIA and how to manipulate it for your benefit. If you've never heard of fascia or know what it means, you are in for a great treat. Fascia is the coolest thing in the body and responsible for supporting our structure and dictating how we move. When you learn to control and change your fascia, pain and stiffness can be eliminated. You can also learn more about Fascial Stretch Therapy HERE.
Until next time friends....Be Strong - Be Mobile.
*Reference: Dr. James Levine, Director: Mayo Clinic, Arizona State University
ABOUT COACH MATT PIPPIN
Matt is a Strength and Conditioning Coach and Level 3 Fascial Stretch Therapist with over 15 years experience in his field. After years of playing sports as a child, Matt gained an interest in health and wellness and decided to pursue a career in strength and conditioning. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a degree in Exercise Science in 2005. During college Matt played rugby and interned as a Strength and Conditioning Coach with the football team.
Post graduation, he worked with professional athletes as the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for NFL Europe's Berlin Thunder. For 8 years, Matt worked in Chicago, IL at the East Bank Club as a Master Personal Trainer, Performance Coach and Fascial Stretch Therapist helping athletes and weekend warriors achieve their personal goals. Inspired by the overall quality and active lifestyle that California is known for, Matt and his wife Jennifer moved to San Diego in the summer of 2014 and haven’t looked back!
NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
Level 3: Fascial Stretch Specialist
Level 1: Institute of Motion Health Coach
Certified FRC Mobility Specialist (FRCms)