Wow, can you believe that “love is in the air” already? This year is moving ahead at warp speed and I love it! Being busy to me means change and the changes that I can already see happening are awesome. All of us here at Transitions Chiropractic have picked our “One Word” and mine has certainly served as an anchor point and helped me focus on what is genuinely important multiple times.
Last month I brought up the concept of Self Care being Health Care. This time around I wanted to talk a little more about how our bodies are constantly being forced to adapt to their environments. Being able to adapt is a huge advantage of ours however, this constant adaption does have its affect. Gravity is one such force that we constantly adapt to, however, without it we would never develop our postural muscles, drive our brain development or even be able to stand upright. Charles Darwin came up with the theory of evolution years ago when observing how the same species could adapt to their unique environments to help them thrive. It is this concept that means we as humans, in order to thrive must be able to adapt to our lifestyle. One of the problems is that our lifestyle causes us to adapt to some pretty ungainly positions especially sitting and walking around in our concrete jungle.
As a result of this, our bodies really start to tighten especially through our feet, calves, hip flexors, glut muscles, upper back and chest. These muscle groups are known as the Big 6. Each one of these muscles will tighten when we sit especially for extended periods of time. That’s right- your calves, hip flexors, gluts, mid back and chest will all tighten up with prolonged sitting. The noticeable effects of these areas tightening can be huge. Constant sitting starts to shorten our calves and stiffen our feet, it shortens our hip flexorsmaking our hamstrings and lower back tight while at the same time pulling our knees or hip joints out of sync. Tension through our mid back and chest can compress our rib cage & tighten our lungs, making it harder to breathe and forcing our head forwards, it can also decrease our ability to reach overhead.
So, what can we do?
Well, ideally we can maintain perfect posture 24/7, however if you have ever had to sit for longer than half an hour you too would agree this is verging on impossible. When you do remember, over emphasise a great posture even if it is only for a few seconds just to break the muscular stiffness setting in. Likewise, stand and stretch. Nodding your headtwenty times or reaching towards the ceiling are both great things to do. If there is an option of a sitting/standing workstation, that is brilliant as it really does provide the best of both worlds.
On a home side of things or a self-maintenance approach, foam rollers are the best bet. These are hands down the most useful pieces equipment when talking about injury prevention and limiting the muscular aches and stiffness develop. These foam rollers, massage balls and golf balls are a brilliant way of getting rid of muscular restrictions and scar tissue building up throughout the body (and its child’s play, please check the photo…). They work beautifully for all of the big 6 and if you have any questions on how to get started please ask us how.
Take care of your Big 6 and help break those muscular restrictions that otherwise just want to pull you back into a more uncomfortable position. As a final note, remember that self-care once again is absolutely true health care. Enjoy!