Get Up!

By now you’re probably aware of the negative consequences of a sedentary lifestyle. For many, it’s the most detrimental health exposure faced on a daily basis. It’s an epidemic that should concern anyone invested in improving general health, fitness or movement.

Most kids probably sit more than their parents (which is saying something). A child who is stuck in a chair all day at school… And then stuck in a seat on the bus… And then slouched in a couch at home.

Today’s youth, just like today’s adults, tend to spend a lot of time at computers. Most people don’t sit at a computer in a good postural position. As we hunch over keyboards, the muscles of the front of the shoulders and chest shorten and their tension increases. Back muscles and those behind the shoulders elongate and have less tension. As we lean forward and peer into that computer screen, the same elongation occurs in the neck muscles. Together, those changes account for that hunched-over, head-thrust-forward look.

Grab a tennis ball, or lax ball and roll the front of your chest (pec muscles). Try to set a timer, every 30 minutes to remind yourself to sit up straight and pinch your shoulder blades together.

It gets worse. Having your legs bent under a desk all day shortens your hip flexors and psoas muscles, which attach to your pelvis and lower spine. That helps pull your lower back out of alignment, also affecting your posture.

Kneel in front of your desk chair. Prop one foot on the seat and pull your other leg into a half-kneel position. Slowly bring your chest up tall. You should feel a good stretch in the front of your hip-thigh.

Our children face additional challenges. Some youngsters carry school backpacks that weigh as much as 30 percent of their body weight, far too much for young muscles.

Keeping an extra set of books at home or school to help cut down on the amount of weight in your bag.

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