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Posts for category: Exercise & Ergonomics

By Emily
June 07, 2016
Tags: exercise   ergonomics   standing  
A 2012 study found that, in a typical working week, people spend an average of 5 hours and 41 minutes per day sitting at their desk. James Levine, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic, conducted a study in which the participants were given a standardized diet and exercise regimen. Though all of the participants worked at sitting desks, only some gained weight while others stayed slim. Upon gathering further data, Levine found that the participants who weren't gaining weight were moving on average 2.25 more hours per day, whether walking to a colleague's office instead of emailing, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

Below are a few of the health benefits of using a standing desk (which you can read more about here):
  • Reduced risk of obesity
  • Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and other metabolic problems
  • Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Reduced risk of cancer
  • Lower long-term mortality rate

Evidence suggests that the negative effects of extended sitting can't be countered by brief bouts of strenous exercise. The solution is to incorporate standing and other forms of activity into your normal day - and using a standing desk is one of the easiest ways to incorporate it into your work day.

If you are just starting to use your standing desk, split your time between standing and sitting. The easiest way to do this is to either use an adjustable or a tall chair that you can pull up to your standing desk when you need to sit. Ease into using your standing desk by standing for just a few hours a day at first while your body becomes used to this new position. Also, remember to move around a bit by shifting your position as your work and take brief breaks throughout the day!

By Emily
May 31, 2016
Tags: exercise   ergonomics   pain   neck   texting  

Text neck is a term used to describe neck pain and damage sustained from looking down at your cell phone, tablet, or other wireless devices too frequently and for too long, according to Dr. Steven Shoshany.

How do you know if you've got text neck? Below are a few common symptoms:

  • Tightness across the shoulders
  • Headaches
  • Neck soreness
  • Pain in the back, arms, fingers, hands, wrists and/or elbows
  • Numbness and tingling in upper extremities
  • Sounds all too familiar to you?

Nowadays, smartphone users spend an average of 2-4 hours per day (at the very least) hunched over, reading emails, texting or checking social media. That's equal to 700-1,400 hours per year that people are putting stress on their spines!

Dr. Kenneth Hansraj recently conducted a study assessing the stresses in the spine caused by head posture and position, which you can read here. The adult human head weighs about 10-12 pounds in the neutral position. As the head flexes forward at varying degrees, the weight inflicted on the spine dramatically increases. You can see in the diagram above that as the head tilts forward, the forces on the spine increase from 27 to 60 pounds*!

*60 pounds on your spine is like carrying an 8-year-old around your neck for several hours a day!

Loss of spinal curvature leads to increased stresses on the spine, which may lead to premature wear and tear, degeneration, and possibly eventual surgery. Though it may be difficult to avoid our beloved modern technologies, it is highly recommended to make an effort to look at your devices with a neutral spine and avoid spending hours hunched over your devices - remember to take breaks!

By Dr. Doug Williams
April 27, 2016
Tags: exercise   ergonomics   stretching  
If you are cruising the Internet looking for good stretches, you will find no shortage of options. But, are they all good? Is there an optimum stretch? Is there a best way to stretch? These are all good questions and I hope to answer them for you by the end of this post.

Is all stretching good for you? The answer to this question is no, not all stretching is good. Not all tissue needs to be stretched and not all tissue needs to be stretched all of the time. With that said, most stretches won't hurt you, but they may not be the best thing for you either. The science behind flexibility (the outcome of stretching) is varied and has conflicting data. However, there are some generally accepted axioms regarding stretching that I've listed below:
  • Focus on stretching after exercise as opposed to before. Generally, a slow warm-up is more beneficial for preparing your muscles for exercise, as stretching may place a joint at risk for injury.
  • Stretches held for longer than 10-12 minutes have the potential to permanently change the length of ligaments and muscles. In fact, this type of stretching has its own term called traction. We use traction in the office to alter posture - it is a valuable tool, but really needs professional oversight.
  • Because of the way our bodies are built to maximize certain movements and actions, there are fairly predictable patterns of muscles that tend towards tightness and others that tend towards weakness.
  • Much of the developed world has similar patterns of muscle shortening, which are usually secondary to the amount of sitting we do and the amount of moving we don't do.
Here at the office, I am always on the lookout for the biggest bang for the buck. For something to reach "Big Buck" status, it has to meet these three criteria:
  1. Cover issues that most people have.
  2. Be easily understood and reproduced.
  3. Be simple enough to do in two minutes or less.
The two stretches outlined below meet this criteria and we recommend them often. They will stretch a large number of the muscle groups that tend to become short because of our unique human frames, the amount of time we spend sitting in cars and soft furniture, and generally not moving enough throughout the day.

A few things to remember before you get started:
  1. If you are currently in a lot of pain ( 7+ on a scale of 0-10) or dealing with a new injury, then you need to talk to your chiropractor before engaging stretching as it may aggravate your condition.
  2. Stretching is not about how much you can get out of your body, but how much your body will give you. Stretching should feel like a pleasant pull and you should feel relaxed and more pliable afterwards. If performing the stretches is painful, then you are either pulling too hard or something else is wrong. Try dialing back the intensity - if that doesn't help, then contact us before continuing.
  3. You are not going to undo years of poor posture, injury or chronic pain with stretching once for 2 minutes. Stretching is like putting a little money in the bank with each paycheck; it may not look like much at first, but, over time, your investment grows! Add that to a good exercise, nutrition and supportive chiropractic program, and then you'll see progress!
Go ahead and give the following stretches a try. During the day, work on them once an hour, as long as you keep the above three points in mind. A really good time to stretch is in the shower under hot water - just don't slip on the soap! If you are trying to stretch right as you get out of bed, go slowly as our bodies are naturally stiff in the morning. These stretches would be great to incorporate after exercise as a cool down and after you have been sitting for awhile, like at a computer or while talking on a cell phone.

Remember: Eat Right, Move Right, and Think Right!

Doug Williams, D,C,
Care Chiropractic 
Lafayetette, Indiana
With spring right around the corner, we know you're eager to get your hands in the dirt and bring your garden bed back to life! But before you start digging, be sure to take these tips into consideration to keep your spine in tip-top shape.
  1. Stretch beforehand. This warms up your muscles and prepares them for the hard work you're about to put them through.
  2. Lift with your legs, not your back. To do this:
    1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
    2. Bend your knees and tighten your core.
    3. With your head in an upright position, use your legs to lift the object, keeping the object close to your body.
  3. Keep objects and work surfaces close to your body, while keeping a long, flat back. Avoid rounding and hunching your back.
  4. Avoid twisting your back. Turn by pivoting your feet, and keeping your shoulders, hips and feet moving in the same direction. When working in place, make sure your shoulders, hips and feet are all facing the object you are working with.
  5. Change positions often to avoid repetitive motion and to balance the muscles you're using.
  6. Pace yourself and remember to take breaks. Stay hydrated!