Monday, August 26, 2019

How To Reduce The Negative Effects Of Sitting

You're back from holiday, with lots if good memories and motivation. So let's read this article before opening hours sitting down at the office!

"If you're reading this right now, chances are you're sitting down somewhere. Hell, as I'm writing this, I'm sitting down. Sitting has become so ingrained in our lives that it can be easy to lose sight of how much we do it—think time spent commuting, eight or more hours at work, several hours for meals, and a few more hours to watch TV, read, or go online. You get it—we're sedentary. 
And if you're a heavy sitter, or have stayed even remotely up to date with health news in the last decade, you know that sitting is straight-up bad for us. 
But unlike some health woes, there's something we can do about our sitting sickness. In fact, there are a few things: 

Get up and walk every hour. 
According to Sarah Kostyukovsky, PT, DPT, OCS, sitting for prolonged periods of time can shorten certain muscle groups—like our hip flexors—and put other muscles in a position where they're not active—like our glutes. 
Taking walk breaks, even short ones, can activate our glutes and lengthen the front of the hips, essentially counteracting the physiological harm of sitting. That isn't to say that getting up to fill your water a few times a day is going to reverse all the side effects, but we should always be looking for ways to break up our sitting with movement.

After a full day of working or being out and about, our first inclination is usually to kick back and relax—when what we should be doing is stretching it out. If you've ever gotten up from sitting for a long time and your hips felt stiff, you understand why. Kostyukovsky recommends doing a hip flexor lunge stretch or a standing quadriceps stretch when you get home, and even throughout the day. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds at a time on each side and repeat as necessary (until your hips and quads feel like they've loosened up a bit).

Be active outside of your workday.
If you haven't already guessed, physical activity can help us counteract the negative impact of sitting. And while getting up during the day, going for walks, and stretching can make a difference, they're no replacement for moving and strengthening your body through exercise. 
Current guidelines recommend that adults do 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least five days a week, but we tend to take the stance that doing something (ideally often) is better than nothing. Consistency is key—so we advise working exercise into your daily routine in a sustainable way (avoiding unrealistic wakeup calls at all costs). Even if you can only manage 10 or 15 minutes a day, if done consistently, you can reap the benefits. 

Adjust your office chair and environment. 
In terms of small but impactful tweaks that you can make to reduce sitting symptoms, fixing your office chair (or wherever you sit the most) and work environment is paramount. 
"You want to make sure you have lumbar support to maintain the natural curve in your low back," Kostyukovsky says. "If you don't have a great chair, you can purchase a lumbar support pillow or roll up a towel and prop that behind your low back." 
Another overlooked (and usually adjustable) aspect of our chairs is the height. If your chair is too high or too low, it will throw off your body's alignment. 
"When sitting, your hips should be above the level of your knees," Kostyukovsky says. "Your feet should be planted on the ground underneath your knees." 
If your chair is too high, you can consider putting a box under your feet to prop them up, and if your chair is too low and can't be adjusted, it may be time to search for another. 
Wood chairs, metal chairs, small chairs, tall chairs—whatever you have at your disposal, there are ways to adjust it to fit your alignment needs, which, in turn, will make the hours you spend sitting less debilitating. Or if you're super dedicated, grab a standing desk (and stand with good posture, of course).

And seriously, squeeze in as much movement as you can. 
A wise fitness editor once said, "The only way to combat a sedentary life is with an active lifestyle." Yes, that was me, but the point is that movement does add up. Fifteen minutes here, five minutes there—the more you can fit into your day, the better. Going for a longer walk during lunch, taking a break to stretch, or doing some yoga poses when you wake up can make all the difference when it comes to your physical and mental health. 
Do some calf raises the next time you're standing in line. Take the longer route when you walk home. Knock out a quick ab circuit before your evening shower, or take a walk with your partner after dinner. Movement is movement—it accumulates and means something. But to be clear: Any movement isn't always enoughmovement. Capitalize on the various moments of downtime during your day—you'll be surprised how much you can fit in if you try. 

Why is sitting so bad for us?
On the off chance that you need a small but substantial fire under your ass to get moving, let's talk about why sitting, frankly, sucks. 
To start, sitting has unpleasant short-term effects—it can make our hips, back, and elsewhere feel stiff and tight. And if you're experiencing stiffness, pain probably isn't far behind. "Sitting with bad posture, or poor alignment, puts additional stress on our joints," Kostyukovsky says, "as well as soft tissue, like our low back."
Not to mention, the more sedentary you are, the more your body will want to be sedentary. In other words, not getting enough exercise or physical activity can actually make you feel tired. Kostyukovsky confirms this, noting that, "Most people don't know how to sit optimally or get lazy when sitting for prolonged periods." 
The long-term effects are even more motivating—aka they're more serious. Beyond the occasional discomfort or even chronic pain, sitting can cause irreparable damage to our bodies
"Over time, sitting can lead to musculoskeletal injuries from muscular imbalances and abnormal joint and soft tissue loading," Kostyukovsky says. "And sitting with poor posture can also lead to irreversible changes in the skeletal system, like an increased curvature in the upper back."
If you're already making all of the above changes to reduce the negative impact of sitting and still experiencing hip, back, or neck pain, the best action you can take is to see a physical therapist. And even if you're not in pain and you just know your posture isn't pristine, it's time to see a physical therapist. The way we see it: The best time to fix a problem is before it's too late. "

Author: Ray Bass

Monday, August 19, 2019

10 of the Best Tips for Your Morning Routine for School

Back to School is already there.. I loved these ten tips to make the mornings smoother!

#1. Lay Out Everything The Night Before

Lisa says “I lay out my 4 kids’ clothes, shoes, coats, hats etc the night before. Breakfast table set for morning. Lunches done the night before and in the fridge. Bags beside the door. It’s all about prep. No one is running around looking for anything. Everyone has to be washed and dressed before coming to breakfast. It’s getting everyone in the car that’s madness…fighting over who sits where!!!”
So next Randy shared her tip for kids fighting in the car: “I got a calendar and they took turns each week. Worked like a charm. They only had to check the calendar to see whose turn it was.”
Jennifer agrees that preparation really is half the battle. She also says that in their car, everyone has “fixed seats & they have to sit there.”

#2. Make Lunch in Advance

Donna advises “Make as much of the lunch as possible the night before. I usually only need to make his sandwich in the morning and throw everything in his lunch box then.”
I actually make everything the night before, I just found it was too rushed in the morning and if I put the lunchbox in the fridge overnight everything is nice and chilled too.
#3. Have Everything in the Same Place
Lots of time can be spent finding things in the morning so if you can have everything in the same place, that saves a heap of time.
Donna also gives these tips:
  • have the backpack hanging on the handle of the front door
  • put their jacket near their backpack
  • always place shoes in the same spot when they are taken off so your child knows where to find them in the morning.
Vikki agrees “have all backpacks/coats/shoes in one spot so they are easy to find”.

#4. Earlier to Bed on School Nights

A few parents mentioned getting kids to bed earlier on school nights helps them being too tired (and grumpy) in the mornings.
Patricia says “Definitely get them to bed early! If they are too tired in the morning then it’s earlier to bed that night. They have learned to appreciate a good night’s rest.”
#5. Have The Little Things Ready too
Nicola advises to “literally lay everything out, down to the hair bobbles” so that you are not frantically searching for them.
Linda suggests marking everyone’s clothes so that each child puts on their own clothes and isn’t tempted to pinch others. She also says that they survived school days through “good planning on the white board where all the info was displayed.”

#6. Allow Time If Kids are Taking the Bus

Linda points out that it does help if you stay within walking distance from the school but when your kids need to take buses then work out the timings so no one is rushing out in danger of missing the bus.
#7. Routines Do Work
Lots of parents swear by routines.
Aoife says that in their house everyone has to be “dressed and beds made before we go downstairs for breakfast – clockwork routine and no one (especially me!) gets stressed!
Kay says that if her kids are “up, have had breakfast, brushed their teeth uniforms on, then they get to have 30 mins tv time”
Rachel tries to make sure her kids are dressed before they go downstairs as well “too many mornings spent frantically trying to find shoes etc when we’re supposed to already be in the car!!!”
Donna makes it a “race”. E.g. “I bet you can’t get dressed before I count to 20.” or “I bet you can’t get your shoes on before me”. She also tells her son “10 minutes til you have to get dressed” “5 minutes and it’s shoes on” “10 minutes til we leave” as she finds the advanced warning and repetition works for them.
Racquel is also a big routine fan. She likes to prep lunches and uniforms the night before and in her house they have a “No devices or tv in morning” rule.

#8. Prep Breakfast

Valahrae suggests that “you can make french toast, mini pancakes or breakfast burritos ahead of time and put in freezer. It cuts down on prep time and gives you more time to enjoy them before they head out for the day.”
#9. Allow Extra Time
In our house we set our alarm very early firstly to allow some snooze time before we get up and secondly for extra time so things are not rushed. I also really like to enjoy my cup of coffee for a few peaceful minutes before the final getting-everyone-out-the-door scramble starts.
Diana advises “get up at least an hour before you need to leave” so you aren’t rushed.

#10. Have Your Coffee Ready to Go

And, finally, being a coffee-drinker myself, one I definitely agree with wholeheartedly is to have your coffee ready. Marc, Lisa and Donna say they need to have coffee ready to survive the morning rush. So have the coffee ready to make/filter/pour when you need that caffeine!
Author:  Jill Holtz
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