For one thing, if you have to ask that question, probably not. Are you spreading your workouts across your work day, participating in some kind of physical activity at least once an hour? I didn’t think so. In that case, then, no, working out is not enough. Enough for what, you ask? Preventing obesity and decreasing the kind of pain that often afflicts the white-collar world.
Embracing the “New Normal”
Typical human beings throughout most of known history walked or ran 10-20 miles per day. By contrast, most of us twenty-first century Americans spend 15 hours per day parked on our rear ends. While we may feel relieved at the relative physical leisure that industry and technology afford us, we need to realize that, generally speaking, our lifestyles are not active; neither are they “normal,” within the context of history.
Now, I’m not out to bemoan the loss of the “Good Old Days” nor plea for a return to an agrarian society. Trust me: I like my padded office chair, my car’s heated leather seats, and my overstuffed recliner. But realizing that my normal level of activity throughout the day is far from ideal, I need to realize the potential problems that can result from the relatively sedentary lifestyle most of us are privileged to lead.
Being Thankful for Progress
Thanks to education, many of us are making wiser choices about our posture and office setup, reducing lower back pain and decreasing risk factors for conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, elbow tendonitis, neck strain, and eye strain.
Physical therapists have led the way in normalizing improved ergonomics as well as postural exercises, and some employers are even springing for standing work stations and desktop computers (even if providing only a lap top would save them money). Many more office workers are aware of their posture and the potential problems that can result from poor alignment and are quick to secure care for any overuse injuries they sustain. All of that is good news, and I’m grateful for it!
Understanding our Physiology
In addition to postural problems, physiological issues can result from sitting, as well. Some people are even calling it “sitting disease.”
Basically, what happens when we sit for 60-90 minutes is that our blood enzymes decide to take a break. Lipoprotein lipase, in particular, circulates in our blood, performing the important task of fat absorption. As you can imagine, when that metabolic enzyme takes a break, the fat is not absorbed as quickly. With it, increased risk of adult-onset diabetes, high cholesterol, and other risks associated with obesity can result.
The good news is that you don’t have to hit the gym every 90 minutes to get your Lipoprotein lipase to start working again. Simply contracting muscles or fidgeting a little can wake them up and get them working for you, again.
Learn more about healthy fitness:
• Is that good or bad pain which you are experiencing?
• What is the best sleep position?
• Choosing an office chair that is the right size
PhysioDC of Washington, D.C.
Daniel Baumstark and his professional team of physical therapists operate a boutique physical therapy office in downtown Washington, D.C. From athletes to government officials, and from ballerinas to corporate executives, PhysioDC helps people recover, strengthen and return to healthy living. Visit their website at www.PhysioDC.com or call them at 202-223-8500.
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