Modern day society is fast paced, and its modern conveniences and workplaces lend us to sitting for a fair portion of time.
Consider how much time you spend sitting each day.
We sit when we go to and from work, then an eight- hour day at your desk plus time on the couch at the end of the day to unwind. If that’s not enough sitting action, factor in the little tasks during the day that used to require us to go and run errands which we can now do at a click of a button – communicating with people via email and phone, shopping online or banking money. It’s no surprise then that we are living in a society where our physical activity levels are rapidly declining.
The evidence already strongly supports that prolonged periods of physical inactivity increases our risks of developing chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity. In addition, it also increases our chance of musculoskeletal pain such as lower back pain, which most people will experience at some point in their life.
The lower back acts as the cross roads in our body and often falls “victim” as it sits between the hips and upper back. These two regions are common areas of the body where we tend to get stiff. When we look more specifically at the sitting posture, these two areas in a way get locked, and if we remain in this position for prolonged periods will start to stiffen up.
In an attempt to keep you moving and complete your daily activities, the body needs to find a way around this stiffness by calling on the lower back. With the lower back performing most of the hard work now, this creates increased load on it and increases the risk of pain and injury.
So how do we prevent or manage this? The key is movement. As the saying goes, motion is lotion! One of the easiest ways to keep the lower back happy is walking. As Hippocrates said “walking is man’s best medicine”.
Daily walking takes all our joints and muscles through motion, and also promotes health by going back to basics and helping to balance the entire system. It’s recommended that we need to reach 10,000 steps per day in order to improve health and reduce the risk of disease. You may be thinking that’s quite a lot of steps to try and achieve considering the amount of sitting I’m doing at work and the limited time I have left around my work hours.
We need to get creative with our time and start incorporating incidental walking into our routine. Some suggestions include:
- Taking the stairs instead of the lift or escalator
- Carrying the shopping in one bag at a time
- Taking a 5 minutes walk at lunch time or stepping out for 10 minutes with a friend or workmate
- Parking the car further away from work, the train station or shops
As we have mentioned, the hips and upper back can affect how our lower back moves and feels however any compromise to other parts of the body will have an influence on our lower back and vice versa.
The good news is we can help.
As everyone is unique, we can access which areas of your body are tight and restricted and whether this is having an influence on your lower back pain, whether it be when you’re sitting, standing, walking, playing sport or simply enjoying life.