Throughout the year but particularly in winter, we tend to see lots of patients grappling with various back-related issues that are exacerbated due to a lack of regular movement. Whether the original problem is a sports injury, circulation issue, a muscular imbalance or joint pain, regular gentle movement is a great way to alleviate symptoms and help treat the root of the problem.
In this blog post, we look at the benefits of daily movement for injury prevention and overall well-being, explore the repercussions of a sedentary lifestyle, and offer you some simple ways to incorporate regular activity into your routine.
The Importance of Movement
We’re built to be on the move: our ancestors were constantly in motion, and it’s only in the last couple of centuries that our lifestyles have become drastically more sedentary. For many of us, today's modern lifestyle has us spending 13-15 hours a day sitting. This sedentary behaviour takes a toll on our bodies, impacting circulation, sleep patterns, weight management, digestion, physical strength, and mental well-being.
Physiotherapists, osteopaths, and sports therapists advocate not just for more movement but for a diverse range of activities to mitigate work-related pain and enhance joint and soft tissue health.
Consequences of a Sedentary Lifestyle
The spine, with its 364 joints and 40 muscles and complex shock-absorbing design, suffers the most from lack of movement. Prolonged sitting or repetitive tasks can restrict spinal mobility, leading to problems not only in the back but also affecting other joints in the body.
5 Benefits of Daily Movement
1. Enhanced Joint and Soft Tissue Health:
Regular movement helps combat the stiffness and immobility caused by prolonged sitting, promoting flexibility and strength in joints and soft tissues.
2. Improved Mental Health:
Physical activity releases endorphins, contributing to a positive mindset and helping alleviate conditions such as anxiety, stress and depression.
3. Diverse Movement for Musculoskeletal Health:
Mixing up movement routines is crucial for optimal musculoskeletal health, preventing work-related pain and promoting overall well-being.
4. Increased Energy and Productivity:
Daily movement boosts energy levels, making you more alert and productive throughout the day.
5. Variety in Daily Activities:
Incorporating simple habits like taking short breaks for mobility exercises, using a standing desk, and walking during phone calls adds variety to your daily routine.
Simple Ideas to Stay Mobile
To counteract the negative effects of prolonged sitting, consider integrating the following simple ideas into your daily life:
Set a reminder for a simple mobility sequence every 30-40 minutes.
Plan weekly exercise routines, incorporating activities like yoga, Pilates, and walks for variety.
Opt for multiple workstations, such as standing and seated desks.
Take short walks during lunchtime.
Stand up during phone calls and walk while talking.
Choose stairs over the elevator.
Perform mobility exercises during breaks to combat neck stiffness.
Move phone calls outside to vary your surroundings.
Speak to your osteopath or physiotherapist about an assessment of your work station and daily routine: they can make suggestions about improving your desk setup, office chair, or simple routines to help you maintain mobility throughout your day
The best and easiest way to incorporate regular movement is to start small and stay consistent: make little changes to your everyday routine, so you’re more likely to build these into habits.