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Firstly I’d just like to say…EN-GER-LAAAAAND! EN-GER-LAAAAAND! EN-GER-LAND, EN-GER-LAND, NAAAAH, NAAAAH! 5 tests of 5 whole days (weather permitting of course, this one is in old Blighty after all) that is A LOT of sitting.
Now that’s out of the way, when I was asked to write a piece related to the Ashes, I felt like I was walking into a minefield, being a Pom so far from home. In saying this, I am going to stay clear of all the “we’re going to win” and the “you suck” and put my professional hat on.
What could I write about that is both physio AND Ashes related? Michael Clarke’s lower back/sciatic/hamstrings issues? No, I have a rule of staying away from subjects where I’ve had to use three forward slashes in such close proximity, as I’m trying to write a blog post not Lord of the Rings! I’d need something much simpler…and then it came to me. What do you do for hours and hours and hours when the crickets on? You SIT…
MOVE OR DIE!
5 tests of 5 whole days (weather permitting of course, this one is in old Blighty after all) that is A LOT of sitting. The thought reminded me of an interesting article that I read at the start of the year that was rather dramatically titled…
“Sitting for long periods increases the risk of disease and early death, regardless of exercise”
As I picked my jaw off the floor and half a soggy digestive biscuit out of my cup of tea, I thought it was important to delve deeper into the article before I go to work the next day, hand in my resignation and tell all my hard working desk based patients “YOU’RE ALL DOOMED!”
To summarise my interpretation of this article: it’s not good enough to just do a load of exercise outside of working hours. You simply have to break into those long hours of sitting, whether it be at work, watching TV at home or commuting on the train, in order to reduce your risk of bad health. This may seem like an obvious statement, but there’s a common mind-set that if you sit all day but “beast yourself” with exercise outside of office hours, all will be OK. This article is saying that this may not be the case. Don’t get me wrong, it certainly helps! But the key here to make the difference is to break up those hours on your backside. This study mainly looked at things such as heart disease, diabetes, and other systemic illnesses, but we are forever dealing with health issues related to long hours of sitting: low back pain, neck pain and lots of musculoskeletal injuries are related to long sedentary working hours.
This is a serious issue, particularly if you take into account the amount of people whose jobs require them to spend 8 hours+ a day sat down. For those poor souls, you must try to break up the amount of time sitting with regular breaks, do a lap of the office before getting your skinny latte, take the stairs rather than the lift, go for a walk at lunch time, anything to break up the hours of sitting. Something that can be incredibly useful are standing desks. From my experience they are very quick and easy to use, and are an excellent way to combine being active and productive, which I’m sure your boss will appreciate more than lunge walking through accounting.
Swiftly bringing this topic back to watching cricket…why not spring to your feet and throw in an enthusiastic “HOWZAAAAAAT!” every half hour, or maybe place the Esky ten paces away rather than two, your low back/neck and overall wellbeing will thank me later, even if your friends don’t.