How to eliminate the modern worlds pain: Well, not really eliminate, but a hell of a lot of pain, dysfunction, weakness and stiffness comes from little everyday things that have crept into modern day society.
Address this and a lot of people would be better off!
So much of today’s pain and dysfunction is due to the modern lifestyle where we:
- Sit for 8 hours as day
- Are time poor
- Don’t use our gluts
- Eat poorly
To name just a few!
In part one of this series I will explain exactly why and how the above points cause you and your family pain, disease and injuries, followed shortly by part two: Healthy Lifestyle Habits to set you up for life and start changing the world, one reader at a time.
Sitting all day
Generalizing, I know, as not everyone sits for a job, but the majority if us do sit during so many activities, and it all adds up:
- Office workers
- School pupils and college/university students
- Eating meals
- Watching tv, playing video games
- Computer work
- And more
Commuting for example, for a lot of us is a necessary evil, but one study showed that spending over 10 hours per week commuting meant you have a 82% higher chance of dying from heart disease – That is a huge amount higher and given that we are spending more and more time stuck in traffic (the average commuter spends nearly a week stuck in traffic, let alone actually commuting, and this is much worse in the big cities), this problem is only looking to get worse.
Also an Australian study, who looked at the behaviours of over 200,000 people, found that prolonged sitting is a huge risk factor for early death and that sitting, alone is responsible for 6.9% of deaths. This is irrespective of physical activity, sex, weight etc – This is just due to prolonged sitting – amazing isn’t it?
They also showed that those who sat for more than 8 hours per day and did no physical activity had the highest mortality (death) risk – so don’t stop your exercising!
That’s all good and well you think, but can I really trust all these numbers? There are always new stats emerging right? How does sitting really cause me harm?
Here is one way that prolonged sitting can harm you:
Sitting for more than just one hour changes activity of lipase – a enzyme involved with metabolising fat. This causes fat to be deposited in adipose tissue instead of being stored in muscle for fuel later and metaboloised for energy(1) – Meaning excess fat is stored in your body, negatively affecting your health, increasing risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and early death(3,4).
“But I exercise” you say, but that doesn’t help, these changes occur in people who are both fit and unfit -the main thing that affects this is how long you spend sitting, not that you go for an hour walk at the end of a 8 hour day spent sitting at a desk unfortunately!
Sitting can also cause back pain, and a lot of it – Slouching in chairs means your low back is rounding out, placing it in a vulnerable position for low back pain – especially disc injuries, causing sciatica – and neck pain.
I now this all sounds like doom and gloom, but there is so much you can do to help yourself, with healthy lifestyle choices and body hacks, we can right it.
How often do we push exercise, and playing with the kids aside for “more important things”. It is all too easily done, I know. This leads to you letting yourself off the hook more and more and before we know it are unfit, putting on weight or now unable to go out there and exercise! I’ve put it off before, and I always regret it.
It is so easy to forget how good we feel after getting a bit of exercise, when it is cold or dark outside!
But really there is no excuse, as I will show you in te second part of this series – there is always options whether it is a matter of motivation, shorter workouts that get just as-good a workout, getting up 10 minutes earlier – This is a problem, easily solved.
Not using your gluts?
More and more we are moving predominantly in the sagittal plane on nice flat surfaces – which means we go forward and backwards, and do little lateral (sideways) movement or core stabilisation.
This leads to us using the muscles at the front and back of out hips a lot such as your gluteus maximus and hip flexors, but you deep hip rotators, core and gluteus medius and minimus get left behind from disuse. These latter muscles are your hip and spinal stabilizers – you need them, and all too often these days, I see weakness in these muscles due to little or no use. The problem is most people don’t know that they are weak there, so it isn’t addressed. They get injuries up of down the chain such as shin splints and patello-femoral pain syndrome or headaches and shoulder pain. A lot of this originates from having a poor base to work off – your pelvis and core.
Here is a quick and functional test you can do to check yourself at home.
We simply don’t climb enough mountains and trees, we don’t squat down and often forget how to use our muscles in their full range and with proper technique. From there, it’s use it or lose it baby – the ranges you don’t use slowly ebb away. You trunk loses rotation, hip flexors and pecs shorten up, your core becomes all soft and pudgy – not ideal at all.
We eat poorly
Again, I’m generalizing, but on the whole we eat badly and we suffer for it. There is an absolute abundance of fast food that is readily available to us, that is made to be fast, easy and tasty – but generally not nutritious.
Another reason is due to a little brainwashing – The companies with the large marketing budgets are the fast food chains, who market absolutely everywhere, whether it is in the newspaper, on TV, in sponsorship and even recently on banners at the Football world cup. Having these brands everywhere makes them common place and normal, where-as how often do you see advertising for affordable fruit and veges, healthy lifestyle, wholesome, healthy food. Healthy food that won’t give you spikes in blood sugar levels and leave you feeling empty and sluggish – Not often unfortunately.
Can you put your pain, tightness or ill health down to just one thing?
It is hard to say exactly, for example, how sitting for six hours a day affects your body because so many factors combine in; diet, exercise levels, what you drink, if you smoke, stress levels – all those little things affect your health and decrease your life expectancy. But all these things DO affect your body and so you need to control as much of them as you can. Do this and you add years into your life, and not just that but you improve the quality of your life – which I think is far more important, don’t you?
So much has been said over the last decade (and longer) about getting your 30 minutes a day of moderate intensity exercise, but some focus also needs to be on one we are doing for the rest of the day. It would be great if at the end of the day we could run off and sweat out all the bad things we have done during the day, but we can’t, we need to make a concerted effort to make lifestyle changes.
Control what you can control.
Keep tuned through Twitter, Facebook or sign up for your free email updates because next week I am going to be publishing, the Healthy Habits that will change your life and change the world one person at a time!