The Importance of Getting Moving – At Home & In The Workplace
by Dr. L. Voigt Smith, PT DPT CredMDT
Sedentary lifestyles present a huge problem both at home and in the work place.
The average adult in America now drives 1 hour, watches over 4 hours of television, and is exposed to multimedia screens at least 8 hours a day (Nielsen, Council for Research Excellence, 2009, U.S. Department of Transportation Survey 2004).
Microchip technology has drastically influenced our culture and reduced how much Americans move; generally people are sitting more and moving less.
This has had a direct impact on the health of society. Among many benefits, exercise has the ability to reduce or prevent diabetes, obesity and many cancers; lack of activity and exercise can do the opposite (US Department of Health and Human Services. 2008 physical activity).
Here are some points to consider:
When You Stop Moving, You Die!
First, according to Dr. Charles Matthews, 4 to 7 hours a week of moderate to vigorous physical activity is helpful.
However, when this is combined with daily television viewing of 5 to 6 hours, research indicates up to a 50% increase in the risk for all-cause early death.
Also, there is a two-fold increase in the risk for cardiovascular-related early death, when compared with those reporting the most moderate to vigorous physical activity (of 7 hours or more per week) and less than 1 hour of television a day.
The take home message is even with regular exercise, too much sitting and inactivity can kill you!
Movement Can Alleviate Pain
Second, besides mortality issues, inactivity has been linked to chronic pain (Holth H, BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2008).
To contrast, research has shown fibromyalgia functional chronic pain problems can be significantly improved with appropriate therapeutic education and exercise (S. E. Gowans 1999, American College of Rheumatology).
For individuals needing skilled health provider services, restrictive discomfort and function also can be greatly improved with physical therapy (Gail D, Physical Therapy, December 2005) often at a significant health care cost reduction (Fritz J, Spine, 2012).
In a nutshell, the best solution to sedentary issues is to set goals (short-term and long-term) to get moving more at work, in the community, and at home!
Physical Therapy Can Help Get You Moving
Third, a highly-trained doctor of physical therapy has many therapeutic tools and resources available to assist one to function better, be more active, and improve the quality of how they move.
One unique clinical example is the Backsmith Selective Stabilization Support. This innovative patented device often helps improve posture and strength, as well as tolerance for standing, walking and functional exercise (https://www.backsmithphysicaltherapy.com/selective-brace-stabilization/); the tool often is highly beneficial for individuals with restrictive back-related weakness, instability, and tightness. Other devices are available to enhance movement and activity in the work place.
Next, many occupational settings now allow individuals to use treadmill desks as well as work stations which allow one to both sit and stand.
A study showed there was a reduced amount of work place sitting time, as well as a 54% pain reduction in neck and upper back pain of subjects, with versatile high/low desk utilization (Nicolas P. Pronk, 2011, CDC).
A more inexpensive tool option is a light weight and portable pedometer. Research on pedometers (Johnston J, University of Indiana, 2013), has indicated these devices (around $30 or less) can qualify activity levels and motivate individuals to sit less and be more active.
An emphasis by company leadership to consistently exercise and keep moving also can help; many industries adopt corporate fitness and wellness programs to help achieve this.
Finally, great lifestyle is all about good informed choices and time management.
Lunch-time and breaks are great opportunities to get moving. While it seems noble to work through these breaks, it is not healthy.
We all have a responsibility to be proactive with our health. Therapeutic exercise and adequate daily activity need to become ongoing high priority habits. The first day we ignore these often is the first day of a bad lifestyle change.
Consider the words of Earl of Derby, “Those who do not find time for exercise will have to find time for illness.”