Everyone agrees that smoking is bad, but do you realize that those of us who sit 6 or more hours a day at work are also at considerable health risks for things such as cancer, heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and a host of mobility problems? Couple this with the common effects of aging and the future starts to look a little dim. I really think the best years of our lives should be our later years and not our earliest.
Over time our joints become stiff and our bodies don’t move with ease, as they once did. This is a natural decline of course, but the rate we are heading there as modern people is super sonic. There’s no need to “floor it” when we’re already naturally going down hill. We can put the brakes on a bit, or at minimum at least put it in neutral! Pure and simply we are designed to be mobile, and prolonged sitting (which I consider to be anything over 20 minutes) accelerates the body’s aging process from the over repetition of sitting. Any behavior you repeat becomes easier for your body to repeat. We are becoming chair shaped and our bones are having a hard time moving back in all it’s original directions.
Mobility needs to be at the top of our fitness hierarchy. Part of becoming more mobile is to learn how to train the various parts of your body to work together as they are meant to function. They are called Anatomy Chains. On top of having a mobility routine is also very important to include mobility warm ups in our normal strength and conditioning workouts. This is different than stretching. Pre-workout mobility routines help to warm up our connective tissue which runs throughout or muscle fibers and bathe our joints in synovial fluid. All of this allows our bodies to be functional and elastic so that we experience less injury and feel more energized by our workouts instead of depleted. Tightness is not strength… it’s just tightness.
While simple mobility warm-ups performed alone may not counter all of the negative effects that our sitting culture inflicts upon us, they can take us a long way in maintaining a functional body that makes it easier for us to enjoy being active. Not to mention retaining independence as we get older. I’m not just talking about not going into some assisted living scenario. I’m talking about independence from anti-inflammatory medications, extra doctor visits, special foot wear, motorized carts and on and on…
We all have to work and, unfortunately, a lot of us have desk jobs that tie us down to the office chair most of the day, but that doesn’t mean we’re void of hope. I have a simple, low impact 2 minute routine that I do whenever I need to throughout my day. It basically moves all my joints in their capable directions and restores elasticity to my body which makes me feel a hell of a lot better, and when I feel better I do better. Coupled with some good breathwork it has changed my life.