We have seen dramatic changes in the work environment in recent years, even more so in the recent weeks. Standing desks, exercise balls for chairs, treadmill desks! All have advantages, and perhaps some risk.
If you’re new to working at home, if you’ve been working at home for a while, or if you unfortunately are unable to work, like us, now is a great time to look at your home workspace or computer setup and fit a little more movement into each hour.
Your house is your workspace!
Sit on the floor, work from a low desk, sit, stand, do all these a lot. But first, work on your posture! Why? Here’s an interesting blog post from Katy Bowman, a biomechanist:
I agree 100% with the statement “sitting is killing you” but I would say the reason why sitting is harmful is not what they have listed and the solution (jumping jacks in place and putting your chair back into a reclining position) is not correct.
And, P.S. Sitting at 135 degrees is just as harmful as sitting at 90. The reason sitting is harmful HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH BODY FAT, OBESITY, etc., which is why you see these diseases in people of all body masses great and small.
The link between sitting and cardiovascular disease
The link between sitting and cardiovascular disease has to do with the physics of how your blood flows through your arteries. Different types of flows promote different types of plaque accumulation.
Plaque accumulates NOT because of blood chemistry, but because of the action of the cells flowing within the blood vessels.
Normally, blood cells in the blood glide along down the blood vessels, like a ball rolling down a hallway. If that hallway has a turn in it, however, the ball will smack into the wall.
Blood cells do the same thing. A blood cell hitting the wall of an artery leaves a wound, which, just like a cut on your hand, needs to make a scab. Scabs in the arteries use cholesterol to seal the wound. Your cholesterol is not arbitrarily sticking to the walls of the vessels but is part of the healing mechanism your body has. That’s why high cholesterol isn’t the problem — it’s the wall wounding.
What causes the blood cells to smack into the walls of your blood vessels?
A couple of things. (There are actually more, but the physics is a bit more complex for this blog today.)
1. The type of blood flow you are creating. Blood flow can be turbulent (like turbulent air during a flight) or laminar, which is all of the blood smoothly flowing in the same direction.
Turbulent flow can take a blood cell and, instead of letting it flow straight through a vessel, can slam it up or down, into the wall. BAM. Wall wound.
2. Blood vessel geometry.
The good news: Your arteries, where they are located and how they branch off, are arranged in a very specific way to maximize pressure gradients and keep flow smooth.
The bad news: Your artery geometry changes with your posture.
Adding twists and turns in the arteries by chronically bending joints for excessive bouts of time a day is like adding curves in your hallway. Rolling balls are guaranteed to smack into the walls in your home just as blood cells will run into the curves of the vessels…every time. This is why research shows that exercise doesn’t offset the affects of sitting. You can’t undo 8 hours of wounding with a run or with bigger muscles. Fitness doesn’t touch the wound that has been created.
We have made the entire science of cardiovascular disease about fat and cholesterol and chemistry when it is really about geometry.
You can try to cut out all the cholesterol out of your diet but that doesn’t keep the plaque from accumulating. You have to stop the WOUNDING (inflammation), which means you have to fix the geometry.
This means you have to fix your posture.
I’m so boring saying that over and over again, right?
I go on and on about alignment but I don’t want you to think it’s about aesthetics, or appearance, or even the macro mechanics like muscle function and joint health. Even though it is about those things too. It’s really about the micro mechanics. The fact is, if you are not aligned correctly, you are creating damage on the cellular level.
And I know most of you care more about cardiovascular health in the long term, more than you care about your bunions.
The three-point solution for starting a healthy-heart program:
1. Get a standing work station. You cannot justify sitting at work. You really can’t any longer.
2. Walk (don’t run!!!) 4-5 miles a day (not necessary to do it all at once and don’t do it on a treadmill.)
3. Fix the position of your bones via stretching your muscles: The position of the bones changes the geometry of the blood vessels — when they’re not where they are supposed to be, you are sitting on a cardiovascular time bomb. Yes, you can quote me on that.
How can you learn more?
Wow!! These postural changes come from imbalances (muscles being too weak, too tight, overstimulated, under stimulated) Our Personal Trainers here at RallySport are all experts at assessing your posture and developing programs to minimize injury and improve performance, thus reducing inflammation. There is no better time for self care, we’re here to guide you, just at a safe distance for now. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to one of us today.