Monday, April 12, 2010

Get Off Your Butt and Skip Around the Block!

Get Off Your Butt and Skip Around the Block!
by Dr. Brandon Harshe on April 6, 2010 · 1 comment

We’ve all done it from time to time. Sitting in front of the computer for long, extended periods of time.

When you sit in front of the computer for too long, you tend to hunch over, slouching in your chair. The longer you sit there, the more slouching you do. Gravity’s pull slowly tugs you closer and closer to the floor. This is not a good thing for your spine.

Spinal Curves Explained

You have two main curves in your back: a lordotic curve in your lower back (the spine curves toward the stomach) and a kyphotic curve in the upper back (spine curves away from chest). The curve in the neck is lordotic as well, but bad posture can straighten that curve very easily.

Ideally, you want to sit in a chair that is ergonomically correct i.e. a 120 degree angled-tilt with a 5 cm pad in the lower back area to preserve natural lordosis in the lower back.

What actually happens is most people do not sit in an ergonomically correct chair, and as such, they don’t sit straight on their own, either. They slouch, which causes hyper-kyphosis in the upper back (extra curve) and some hypo-lordosis in the lower back (less curve). This in turn leads to a person leaning their head forward, which eventually causes a tremendous amount of strain in the rear neck muscles.

For every inch you lean your head forward, that’s equivalent to adding 16 extra pounds of tension to your cervical spine. This kind of posture can lead to tension headaches in many people.

Setting the Example Early

Pick fun activities that you feel will be worth time away from the computer. Some examples are to take a walk around the block, chase your kids around the house, or start up the blogger’s exercise routine!

Doing anything that requires some kind of exercise is great for all of us. Exercise releases endorphins all throughout our body, making us feel better. Exercise gives us more confidence as well. And if you have kids, most importantly, you’re setting the example for them.

The Lord knows kids in this country need any kind of help they can get. With obesity levels soaring above 65% in this country, what percentage of that do you think is below the age of 18? Try 15% between the ages of 6 and 19. Type II diabetes anyone? Heart disease? Going once, going twice…

Just by going out and running and/or doing push-ups and pull-ups at the house, the kids want to exercise with me. My kids want to do the exercises I do, simply because they want to be like dad. Your kids will, too. It’s sometimes hard to remember what a role model we really are to our children, but we parents are the most important role models our kids have.

I know in this day and age that sitting in front of the computer is what most of us do a lot of, whether it’s for work or play. But that doesn’t mean we have to confine ourselves to a life of continuous bad posture and subsequent structural problems with our spine.

So get off your butt and go skip around the block like this happy couple.

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