We've all heard that a sedentary lifestyle is not good for us and sitting at a job for 6-8 hours a day doesn't help turn that around for the better. But why is sitting so bad and what does it do to our bodies?
There are several health issues that come from sitting hours on end. However, one that we'll focus on here is the impact on your hip flexors. Your hip flexors are a group of muscles that connect your upper leg to your hip and are involved in just about every kind of movement that deals with the lower body: exercises like the squat, deadlift, overhead press, bench press, etc.
When it comes to muscles, the best way to keep them strong and healthy is with movement. When muscles expand and contract, blood and oxygen can move throughout your body. However, sitting keeps your hip flexors in a contracted (shortened) state which turns into tightness.
Won't a good stretch fix the problem?
Yes and no. While we always encourage stretching, and there are some really awesome stretches you can do for your hip flexors, the long-term effects of prolonged sitting can be more significant.
For instance, when you have tight hip flexors from sitting, typically you will see weakened core muscles because you're not engaging them with standing. When you combine tight hip flexors and a weakened core, now you're looking at posture issues which lead to additional concerns, i.e., upper and lower back pain, neck pain, misalignment of the spine, etc.
So what can you do to fix tight hip flexors?
At Staszak Physical Therapy & Wellness Center, located in downtown Eugene, Oregon, our team of physical therapists and PT aides are here to help. Give us a call today to schedule a consult. 541-505-8180
When you hear people talk about the "core muscles" do you know what they are talking about? In simple terms, your core is just about everything on your body except your arms and legs. This means you can think of your glutes, hips, abdominal muscles, inner abdominal muscles, pelvic floor, and scapula as your core. Your core is where your power is generated in order to carry out any movement. While abdominal and inner abdominal muscles do play a large roll in core stability, they don’t make up the core all by themselves.
What does the core do?
Your core most often acts as a stabilizer and force transfer center rather than a prime mover. Yet consistently people focus on training their core as a prime mover and in isolation. This would be doing crunches or back extensions versus functional movements like deadlifts, overhead squats, and pushups, among many other functional closed chain exercises. By training that way, not only are you missing out on a major function of the core, but also better strength gains, more efficient movement, and longevity of health.
So, with all this in mind, it's a good idea to keep your core at the top of the "to strengthen" list.
Watch the video below for 5 great core exercises you can do today.
If you'd like personal help in strengthening your core, contact us today to schedule time with one of our certified personal trainers.
Although many do not consider gardening a formidable activity, the reality is that gardening can result in as many injuries as a number of sports. One of the main contributing factors to gardening injuries is that many gardeners think of the activity as a casual afternoon of fun and therefore inadequately warm up, stretch or prepare for the task at hand when they actually should (see Stretching Guide for Gardening). In addition, repetitive tasks, as well as repetitive positioning such as sitting, kneeling or remaining bent over go hand in hand with gardening. Both repetitive tasks and repetitive positioning are common causes that lead to injury. Interestingly enough, the typical Hollywood gardening scene where someone steps on a tool and it then strikes them in return is another common cause of injury!
Asides from doing a proper warm up there are several gardening tips you can heed to avoid getting more than a thorn in your side!
Use a gardening stool or pad for extended periods of weeding or planting. Better yet, plant as many of your plants in raised flower beds in order to avoid the need for bending much at all! No body part takes kindly to sustained positioning, so be sure to take frequent breaks in order to mix up your positioning. It is recommended to do one light task such as weeding for around 20 minutes, then switch it up to something heavier, like digging or hauling dirt for another 20. To make it easy, think about getting three types of gardening activities in each hour.
Remember common advice even when gardening. For instance, when lifting heavy items including soil bags or your wheelbarrow use your legs and not your back. Keep your back in a fairly straight position and gently pull in your tummy muscles before lifting in order to help support your torso. Your legs are strongest when they are bent only halfway so don’t squat too far before standing back up again. Keep the load close into your body and don’t twist while lifting or setting items down; move your feet to get the item there. Twisting can also be a culprit causing injury even when weeding or doing light tasks; try to turn your feet and or hips as often as possible to complete your tasks in order to avoid unnecessary stresses on your back.
Ergonomics is about fitting the task to the person, and fitting the person to the task. When ergonomic principles are applied in a work environment, many workplace injuries are avoided and work performance can be improved.
To have "good ergonomics", ergonomic risk factors with the task and the individual must be identified and eliminated or reduced.
Want to get back in shape or get in better shape? Having problems with injuries or pain when working out? We can help.
A specialty of ours is working with people who want to do strength or endurance training while avoiding injury and/or getting back into an exercise routine post injury. Is it important for runners or cyclists to have a strong core? Is it important for people who lift weights to maintain good posture? The answer to both of these is definitely yes.
Read here for more information about our practice, industry news, tips for taking care of your body, and great recipes for healthy living.