Published on: 03/05/19
The focus in our classes at PATS PILATES throughout May is all about ‘sit-itis’ – understanding the effects on our bodies when we sit for long periods of time.
As a nation we spend far too long sitting down; at work, at home, on our commutes – it is a daily occurrence.
This sedentary lifestyle can have a negative impact on your health.
Those who constantly sit without moving are at higher risk of obesity, diabetes, deep-vein thrombosis, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease.
Studies show that those who exercise for roughly 150 to 200 minutes per week counter the cardiovascular risks to some degree reducing the risk of heart attacks.
Sitting can increase pain
Often sitting is our ‘go to’ comfort position especially for those who regularly suffer from pain such as lower back pain. However being inactive and sitting for long periods can in fact aggravate your muscles causing more discomfort.
Even if you're reasonably active, hours of sitting; whether reading a book, working on the computer or watching TV – this position will tighten the hip flexors, shorten the hamstring muscles and stiffen your joints. Tight hip flexors and hamstrings will affect your gait and balance, making activities like walking harder. Plus, tight hip flexors and hamstrings can contribute to lower back pain and knee stiffness, which many people unfortunately suffer with.
Healthy spine, happy body
The seated position can be seen as a resting position but if not positioned well it can really affect your posture resulting in an unhappy spine. Poor posture puts strain on your muscles, joints, ligaments and fascia (connective tissue, this can cause neck, shoulder and back pain.
Good posture uses less energy. Your core muscles work more efficiently if they are correctly aligned, which means they can support you and allow your limbs to move more freely. If your body is comfortable, you are saving energy as a result good the correct alignment can help with muscle weakness, pain and fatigue as well as ataxia (coordination problems), tremor, spasticity and spasms.
Unfortunately sitting can’t be avoided entirely and often involves staring at a screen whether that’s a computer, iPad, mobile phone or TV which contributes to poor posture and aches and pains.
In the office you may choose to invest in a special chair which may help to correct your alignment or even a sit/stand desk which allows you to switch between standing and sitting throughout the day or you may make a conscious effort to get up and walk around at regular intervals during the day.
Adding Pilates to your weekly routine can provide many benefits for those who live a sedentary lifestyle. Pilates can help to manage muscles which are held in fixed positions. Some of these muscles will be held in the short length and others in the long length and will require re-balancing/correcting to ease aches and pains and to work more effectively.
Pilates is suitable and accessible for everyone.
Benefits of Pilates include:
- Stronger, healthier back
- Improve balance between strength and suppleness
- Better posture
- Improve alignment, which reduces muscle pains
- Greater body awareness
- Injury prevention and rehabilitation
- Relief from stress
- Tone and mobilise body
More benefits can be found here