Why Daily Movement to Offset Sitting is Important
About a third of a person’s life is spent sleeping. How much of the other two-thirds is spent off their feet? Even sitting isn’t fun, and its bad effects are sometimes compared to those of smoking. Sitting is not only not fun, but has been shown to make people die younger.
The question is how much (or how little) movement is needed to counteract the bad effects of sitting. Researchers have looked into how different amounts of sitting, how often you move, and how long you move affect your health. They are starting to get clear answers about how to move every day to make up for time spent sitting.
One study found that sitting for more than 30 minutes raises the risk of death, while any amount of exercise, whether light or intense, lowers that risk by at least 17 percent. This study, which was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, looked at data from a previous survey about nearly 8,000 adults 45 years or older.
Researchers from New York, Michigan, Arizona, and Alabama looked at the differences between 30 minutes of light exercise (like walking at a normal pace) and 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise (e.g., jogging or running). They also looked at how the results changed when the total time spent sitting was broken up into several shorter sessions instead of one long one.
The results showed that the risk of dying went down when people moved for 30 minutes instead of sitting for 30 minutes. A half-hour of light exercise cut the risk by 17%, while a half-hour of moderate-to-vigorous exercise cut the risk by 34%.
The risk goes down with how much you move, but even one minute of exercise cuts down on how much you sit.
WHAT MAKES IT A HACK
Muscles keep us moving, and they also help control how much sugar and fat are in the blood. If we don’t move around after eating, the blood sugar won’t be used by the muscles and will instead be stored. In the same way, muscles that don’t get regular exercise aren’t as good at getting rid of fat from the blood. Also, if you sit too much, your muscle mass and strength can go down.
When people sit for a long time, blood pools in their feet. Because of this, pressure builds up in the lower legs, which hurts the blood vessels and can cause permanent damage. This is also a problem with standing desks, which work the leg muscles but don’t improve blood flow like walking does.
Even if someone works out in the morning, sitting all day will still be bad for them. The key is to spend less time sitting. Even moving for one minute every half hour can help. These small movement breaks don’t have to be a full Zumba class; they could be a few minutes of cleaning or vacuuming. These exercise snacks help keep the muscles working well and the blood moving all over the body by keeping them active.
HOW IT CHANGES HOW LONG YOU LIVE
The key, say the two researchers, is to move more and spend less time sitting. Sitting too much is bad for the body right away and in the long run.
Sitting all day can also put pressure on the discs in your spine, which can speed up their degeneration and cause chronic back pain, which can make you feel bad and affect your health.
Getting up and moving around more and sitting less seems to be important.
In the end, any kind of regular movement during a day of sitting is good for your health. Even if you just stand up for a second or flex and point your feet, that’s a start.
Find out more about the importance of daily movement by contacting our Foothill Ranch Physical Therapy, Placentia Physical Therapy, Mission Viejo Physical Therapy, or Lake Forest Physical Therapy locations.Read More
The Benefits of Physical Therapy in Preventing Heart Disease
There are many types of heart disease, including hypertension (high blood pressure), coronary heart disease (heart attack), and cerebrovascular disease (stroke), but the most important number is 610,000 – the number of Americans who die of heart disease every year. That’s 1 out of every 4 deaths.
The good news is that most forms of heart disease are preventable by making lifestyle changes, including quitting smoking, practicing good nutrition habits and reducing stress in your everyday life.
Still, one of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce your risk of heart disease is by getting active.
How Cardio Helps Strengthen Your Heart
While the word “cardio” might invoke horror in some, cardiovascular or aerobic activity is important for (surprise, surprise) cardiovascular health. Here are a few important things to know about your cardio health:
- The American Heart Association recommends five 30-minute moderate exercise sessions each week.
- The benefits of regular cardio include strengthening your heart and blood vessels, improving the flow of oxygen throughout your body, lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol, and reducing your risk of heart disease, as well as diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and even some kinds of cancer.
- If you’re not sure where to start, don’t feel overwhelmed – cardiovascular activity includes a wide range of activities that get your heart pumping, such as walking, jogging, biking, swimming, and dancing.
The Importance of Strength Training
Along with cardio, strength training can decrease the risk of heart disease and improve your overall health – here’s how:
- Strength training can speed up the body’s metabolic rate, which can decrease fatty tissue on the body.
- It can also decrease the amount of visceral fat, or belly fat that sits around vital organs, including the heart. Storing excess visceral fat can cause a lot of health problems, including heart disease.
- Studies have shown that strength training twice a week, especially combined with regular cardiovascular activity, can have profoundly positive effects on heart health and overall health.
Physical Therapy Can Get You Moving Again and Keep You Active
Most of us know that exercising regularly is good for our health, but getting started (or restarted) can often be intimidating, and even more so if you’re experiencing pain or recurring injury. It’s not uncommon that pain in the back, neck, knee, shoulder, or other joints and muscles sidelines a person for an extended period of time – and in many cases that periodic injury can slip into permanent inactivity.
Physical therapists are musculoskeletal experts who are trained to get your body healthy enough to start exercising or get back into a routine without pain, as well as create and support an appropriate exercise program for people of all ability levels. Physical therapy services can help get you moving again by:
- Assessing and diagnosing the root causes of pain and injury
- Treating problem areas with customized plans of care that can include a wide range of modern clinical approaches, including manual (hand-on) therapy, exercises and stretches, dry-needling and more.
- Teaching correct form and posture to ensure that you’re performing exercises correctly to prevent future injuries.
Whatever your goals are, don’t let pain stop you from achieving them, especially when it comes to your heart health. Getting back into a routine of cardio and strength training can be a vital part of preventing heart disease down the road, and physical therapy can get you back into action and keep you moving.
If you’re decreasing or avoiding activity because of pain, know that in most cases you can see a physical therapist without a doctor’s referral. OC Sports and Rehab can assess your symptoms and let you know if PT is right for you, or if there are other avenues to moving pain-free again.Read More
Physical Therapists Recommend Doing These 5 Exercises
If you’re one of the many people who made a resolution to get fit and active this year, you may be struggling to find the time and energy to stick to a workout plan. It can be hard to find time to be active when you have to work and take care of your family. Worse, even if you have the time, it can be hard to sort through all of the articles, tips, and routines online that are supposed to be from “experts.” Where do you even begin?
Physical therapists are the real experts when it comes to muscles and bones, so we asked some of our PTs what their favorite effective and efficient home exercises were. We want to take the guesswork out of exercise so you can get the most out of your time and workouts.
- Squat your age a day
Squats are one of the best exercises because they work so many different muscles at the same time. If you do a good squat the right way, it can work your quads, hamstrings, glutes, abs, calves, hip abductors, and more! Start with your feet slightly wider than your shoulders and imagine you’re sitting back in a chair. To keep good form, keep your hips and buttocks low and your chest up. You can make the workout harder over time by squatting lower, doing more reps, and maybe even adding weight.
- Get stronger by doing pushups
One of the easiest and best exercises for strengthening and toning the upper body, pushups work the triceps, pectoral muscles, shoulders, and abdominal muscles. If you’re just starting a new fitness routine, you might have to start on your knees, but if you keep at it, you should be able to do pushups from your toes in no time. By increasing the number of pushups you can do at once, your strength will steadily improve. Also, pushups are versatile because you can change where your hands and feet are to make them harder and work different muscles. Try the seal pushup, the diamond pushup, and staggered hand pushups once you’ve mastered the regular pushup.
- Be grateful for planks
Planks are one of the best exercises for your abs, even better than crunches and sit-ups because they put less pressure on your back. Planks not only work your abs, but they also strengthen your whole core and lower back. This makes you more stable, lowers your risk of injury, and keeps you mobile. Planks come in a lot of different forms, just like pushups. There are low planks, high planks, side planks, shoulder taps, and more. Google different modifications and try holding for 30 seconds to a minute at a time, 3–5 times a day. You’ll see and feel the benefits in no time.
- Bridge with arms overhead
Bridges are another great exercise for your lower body and core. They also work your lower back. Start by lying on your back with your feet on the ground evenly. Make a fist with your arms up and punch the ground with it as you lift your hips and squeeze your glutes. This works the long muscles in the neck and chest that are needed for good posture. Keep your knees wide and push your heels into the ground to get the most out of your glutes. Hold the movement at the top and take a few breaths to use the diaphragm. Like the squat, the bridge uses a lot of different leg muscles, which makes it a good and useful exercise.
- Don’t underestimate jumping jacks
Boxers, athletes, and people in the military do jumping jacks as part of their workouts because they are one of the easiest ways to do cardio from anywhere. Jumping jacks are a type of plyometrics, also called “jump training,” which is a good way to combine aerobic and strength training. Your heart rate goes up, and you work out your whole body, especially your glutes, quadriceps, and hip flexors. When you lift your arms over your head, you also stretch out your shoulders and use your abdominal muscles to stay balanced. You can change things up to make it more difficult, but sticking to the basics is a good way to burn calories, get your heart rate up, and work muscles all over your body.
Find out what exercises and movements are optimal for getting in shape by contacting our Foothill Ranch Physical Therapy, Placentia Physical Therapy, Mission Viejo Physical Therapy, or Lake Forest Physical Therapy locations.Read More