Alex takes a look at the new smoking….sitting down.
Humans are not sedentary creatures, in fact, for the majority of the species known as Homo Sapiens existence on this Earth, approximately 99.5% or 84.000 generations of it was shaped by daily survival involving a hunter gatherer existence.
In essence, up until the period of the industrial evolution our ancestors had a hard life. It was more physically demanding than we can probably imagine and the fact is that they were stronger and fitter than us. Until the Agricultural revolution around 12.000-10.000 BC, when humans began to store food on a larger scale for periods of shortage, survival would have depended on the adaption of energy needs to various climate, seasonal and vegetation conditions. Not so nowadays where the extent of our hunting and gathering probably involves about seven steps to the fridge.
The cartoon below may be funny but on another level is also worryingly too truthful.
Credit – Savageminds.org
Many studies have been completed and a growing body of evidence exists to show a direct relationship between time spent sitting and your risk of early mortality of any cause.1 . Think about your typical day, does it involve perhaps sitting in a car, bus or train during a commute to your place of “Work”? Then what is that work? Does it like a lot more people nowadays involve up to 8 hours sat at a PC? Then a commute home to sit on a sofa watching TV till bed. I’m not judging, I am in the same boat. But be honest, do you think you are anywhere near as active as your ancestors?
If you are sitting at a desk a lot what is your posture like? I’ll wager a lot of us look like this guy below:
Credit – Medikoe.com
Take a look at the diagram above again. Look at what’s happening to the internal organs, they are constricted and will not be working at full capacity. And then there’s the extra stress on his spine and neck muscles. The inescapable fact is that if you just sit frequently then your level of obesity, metabolic syndrome, heart attack, stroke risk and overall death risk goes through the roof.
That’s why I often “nag” about posture in our sessions, when we get the chance to “reset” the body and to allow the Myofascial web to take on the shape we want it to be. Even if you are not preparing for or partaking in exercise, you could try at least 4 or 5 times a day to consciously put yourself into a good strong posture and see if you notice any benefits over a few weeks.
This short 3 minute video is a guided practice from the feet up, focusing on the posture we like to use in Qigong sessions when in the basic standing “Hip Width” or “Bear” stance. Give it a try and see if it is useful for you to use as a checklist.