By Janet Fabbri *
Do you have the ‘sitting’ disease’? How long do you sit each day? Are you sitting while reading this article? In the medical science world, prolonged sitting has become known as the ‘sitting disease’…
In 2011, the USA-based ergonomics and wellness company, ‘Ergotron’ produced a research paper into ‘workplace wellness’ – to raise awareness of how physical inactivity and prolonged sitting can have a serious impact on our health and well-being – and how, with simple interventions, these harmful effects can be lessened.
The paper included alarming results of an American Cancer Society study published in 2010 which examined the amount of time each of the 123,000 participants spent sitting and their level of physical activity.
Several key findings indicated that prolonged sitting and periods of inactivity contribute to serious medical conditions that can lead to shorter life spans – this includes cardio-vascular issues, high blood pressure, leg disorders, muscle degeneration and, sore back, neck and shoulders.
Workplace health has increasingly become a significant focus across the public sector with the introduction of health and well-being initiatives and ergonomic work stations and equipment.
However, the simplest intervention to lessen the serious health issues the ‘sitting’ disease can cause is to ‘move’.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, about two-thirds of Australian adults have insufficient moderate/vigorous physical activity.
New Commonwealth Department of Health guidelines say adults should do between 150 and 300 minutes of physical exercise a week, twice the previous Government recommendations.
However, evidence show that total accumulated sedentary behaviour, and in particular uninterrupted periods of sitting increase cardiometabolic risk, independent of moderate/vigorous activity.
A sedentary office worker not only needs a daily moderate/vigorous activity such as a morning run but also needs to break up sustained periods of sitting.
It is recommended that workers take postural variety and active breaks away from seated computer use every 30-60 minutes.
So, how long do you sit during the day?
It may surprise you to know that the amount of time a person usually sits during a day is almost 8 hours – think about this; you sit when you have breakfast, drive or take public transport to work, at your desk, at a meeting, when you have lunch, drive or take public transport home, when you have dinner, watch television and use your home computer.
A Clinical Pilates session will get you moving. Based on the latest physiotherapy research, Clinical Pilates is designed to help you be your best physically and prevent further injury by safely improving function, pain, stability, balance, strength, posture and flexibility.
A Physiotherapist trained in Clinical Pilates (accredited by the Australian Physiotherapy Association and claimable on most Private Health Funds) will design a specific program based on Physiotherapy research.
Pilates is based on control, breathing, flowing movement, precision, centring, stability, and range of movement.
Clinical Pilates adds to these principles the findings from an individual Physiotherapy assessment which could be a direction preference, or specific anatomical structures that need to be treated such as nerves, muscles and tendons, joints and ligaments.
Physiotherapy and Clinical Pilates is evidence based.
Higher Function, based in Canberra city, is a specialist physiotherapy, psychology and Pilates clinic that helps people to reach their physical and emotional potential.
Pilates classes are run Monday to Saturday in small groups (up to 10) and also on an individual basis.
For more information, class timetables and special deals to get you started on the way to moving away from the ‘sitting’ disease call (02) 6262 9664 or go to www.higherfunction.com.au
* Janet Fabbri is musculoskeletal physiotherapist, with over 26 years of practice. She has taught Pilates in Canberra for the last nine years. She is a member of the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA); an APA Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist; APA accredited Dry Needling Practitioner and a Pilates Clinician.
She is Director of Higher Function Pty Ltd.