A vast majority of people are now at home, our kids are now learning online, and there has been the closure of our ‘movement factories’- sorry gyms/ pilates studios/ boot camps. Movement and exercise has become harder for most to come by.
Most time is being spent on a device of some type. Either a mobile device such as a phone or laptop, or a fixed device such as a desktop PC or a TV. The time spent on these devices has increased. I understand that, and the reasons behind it. The scary thing is though the resultant mass decrease in time spent exercising and moving.
The more time that we spend on a device, the more time we are being placed into a position known as flexion. That is our head comes forward of our shoulders, our shoulders then follow suit and shift forwards and we slouch. This tightens out ‘flexor muscles’ which include the pectoralis (chest) muscles, the biceps or the arm, and the hamstrings and the calf muscles of the legs. As you body does this it places undue physical stress upon the back of the neck, shoulders mid and lower back creating a ‘tug of war’ between the stronger flexor muscle group and the extensors leading to the muscles inflaming and eventually pain.
That however is not all.
We have an inbuilt, innate protection mechanism run by the nervous system. It will pick up upon our body’s physiology and take appropriate action in order to allow us to survive. One such physiological mechanism is that of stress – or fight or flight.
The rounded shoulder, poor posture position that we are so often accustomed to, is a fight or flight position. In effect every time we adopt this position our body is telling our brain that we are stressed! Our brain then talks to our body and sets up a cascade of events that will increase our blood pressure; increase our cholesterol; make us more anxious and depressed; make us crave sugar; increase inflammation; and make us immunosuppressed.
During this time when we need for our immunity to be at its utmost, here is a simple exercise to help combat the fight or flight stress posture.