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Perfecting Your Posture With Pilates

Posted on 1st February 2019 by

You might be surprised to hear that there is no such thing as ‘Perfect Posture’. It has become a deeply ingrained belief that slouching will lead to back problems. However, the most recent evidence makes it clear that posture variability – so changing positions regularly, is the most effective way to prevent back issues. In fact, trying to hold yourself straight and upright all the time may even add to back problems, as you’ll be creating unnecessary muscular tension.

But, that said, if you do spend a lot of your day sitting at a computer, driving or sat in meetings, doing regular exercises such as Pilates, can be really beneficial.

Here’s some excellent Pilates exercises that may help combat the effects of sitting.

#1 Spine Twist

  1. Starting position: Natural standing position. Centre engaged.
  2. Cross your arms over your chest and place the palms onto the front of your shoulders.
  3. Action: Breathe in to prepare.
  4. Breathe out as you twist your upper body to the right, keeping your pelvis stable. Imagine growing taller from your waist as you twist.
  5. Breathe in as you twist your upper body back to the centre, maintaining a lengthened spine.
  6. Repeat up to ten times alternating sides.

#2 Arm Openings Level 2

  1.  Start Position: Lie on your side with your shoulders and hips stacked. Head supported on a small cushion. Ensure your back is in neutral and your centre is engaged. Hips bent to approx. 45 degrees and knees bent to 90 degrees. Arms reaching in front of the body and resting one on top of the other.
  2. Action: INHALE to prepare.
  3. EXHALE, float the top arm upwards and over your head, beginning the first part of a circular motion, keep the eyes in line with the hand.
  4. INHALE for the second half of the circle as you return to the starting position.
  5. Tips: Imagine holding a piece of chalk in the top hand and drawing a large circle above the body for level two. Think of your shoulder blade drawing downwards as the top arm lifts like the counter weight on a railway gate.

#3 Cobra

  1.  Start Position: lie on your stomach with a cushion under your tummy for support if required. Ensure centre is engaged, shoulder baldes are drawn down and back of your neck is long. Bend your arms into an ‘L’ shape and place your elbows slightly higher than shoulder height. Hips turned outwards and legs wider than hip width apart.
  2. Action: INHALE to prepare.
  3. EXHALE, gently slide your shoulder blades downwards and lengthen your upper body off the mat, using your hands for support. Maintain length from the crown of the head to your tailbone and continue peeling your body away the mat, section by section until your hip bones are lifted.
  4. INHALE and hold your cobra position.
  5. EXHALE, layer your body back down onto the mat commencing with your hip bones and finishing with your forehead to return to neutral spine position.
  6. Tips: Imagine peeling the body away from the mat section by section beginning with the forehead, then the shoulders, breastbone, lower ribcage, waist then hip bones. Reach your tailbone towards your heels to prevent over extending your lower back.

#4 Breaststroke Prep Level 2

  1.  Starting position: Lie on your front. Forehead resting on a small (1 inch) cushion or folded towel. Back of the neck long. Arms resting long beside the body on the floor. Palms facing inwards. Neutral lumbo-pelvic position. Legs out straight, hip-distance apart.
  2. Action: Inhale to prepare
  3. Exhale, slide the shoulder blades gently downwards and reach from the shoulder blades to the fingertips towards the feet and allow the arms to hover 1 2 inches off the mat. Simultaneously, lengthen the upper body off the mat to hover the breastbone approx, 1 inch form the floor (no lumbar extension). Keep the back of the neck long.
  4. Inhale and hold the position.
  5. Exhale, relax the shoulder blades and arms to the mat. Simultaneously, lengthen the upper body as to lowers to the mat to return to the starting position. Keep the back of the neck long.
  6. Repeat 6 – 8 times.

#5 Swan Dive Level 1

  1. Starting position: Lie on your front. Legs out straight, hip-distance apart. Arms bent up beside the body, with the elbows slightly below the level of the shoulders. Forehead resting on small cushion or folded towel. Neck long.
  2. Action: Inhale to prepare.
  3. Exhale, lift your breastbone to hover off the floor, allow the neck and head to follow the movement, keeping the neck long.
  4. Inhale and hold the position.
  5. Exhale and lower the breastbone to the mat, allow the neck and head to follow the movement, keeping the neck long.
  6. Repeat 6 – 8 times.

Doing these exercises throughout the week can be really helpful at easing any built up stiffness and areas of tension and reminding muscles to work! But there’s no substitute for moving regularly. Don’t forget, the most important thing is moving and changing position throughout the day!

#LovePilates


On Your Feet Britain!

Posted on 24th April 2018 by

This Friday, On Your Feet Britain are challenging the nation to get On Your Feet. This is the fourth national day, when 1 million workers across Britain will be encouraged and challenged to sit less & move more.On Your Feet Britain

Awareness of the “Sitting Disease” has rocketed up in recent years. Standing desks are certainly becoming more commonplace, in fact our offices at goPhysio have 2 standing desk work stations.

Is it time your workplace joined in the fun event to take James Brown at his word?

Join 1 million office workers #SitLess and #MoveMore by signing up your workplace to this free event and see a different aspect of your colleagues.

Here’s some ideas to get you moving

  • Here’s a thought, instead of emailing the person opposite, do something revolutionary – walk over & talk face to face. It’s a good way to do business & it’ll do you good.
  • Ditch your usual lunch ‘al desko’ and take a stroll outside. You’ll get a spring in your step and feel better for it.
  • Make phone calls standing up. You’ll feel more confident and burn more calories than sitting.
  • Run a lunchtime fitness workshop, class or guided walk.
  • Add a walking meeting to your day.
  • Have 1 less chair at a meeting. With every change in the agenda item, move around and swap who stands.
  • Walk to work or get off the bus a few stops early.
  • Set a timer or reminder to break up prolonged periods of time on the computer to remind you to stand up & move about regularly.
  • Drink more water – you’ll have no choice but to get up regularly to visit the loo!

Why not take it on as an office challenge & free yourself from the office chair for the day. Find fun & easy ideas online to take part.

So Friday 27th April 2018 is your chance to get the ball rolling and encourage your employees and colleagues to take a stand. Team up with colleagues and see how much “sitting time” you can reduce on the day.

Sign up today at onyourfeet.org.uk

Read more: Is standing the new sitting?

#SitLess #MoveMore

On Your Feet Britain 2018

 

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On Your Feet Britain 2018

Posted on 7th March 2018 by

UK businesses are failing health needs of their office-based staff – Workers appeal to bosses to take action that will help them lead healthier working lives.

The vast majority of office-based workers are aware of the health dangers of spending hours on end seated at their desks, but management is failing to respond to their needs, according to a survey to mark On Your Feet Britain day on Friday April 28.

Less than a third of line managers were reportedly either aware of the health risks of sedentary behaviour at work but not bothered, or were simply unaware of the issue.

In contrast, close to 90% of employees believed they ‘absolutely’ or ‘somewhat’ should be more active at the workplace, while only 5% thought they had no need to increase activity during their working hours.

On Your Feet Britain, now in its third year, is a free event run by the Get Britain Standing campaign in association with Active Working, a community interest company. More than 2,500 businesses have signed up to On Your Feet Britain, encouraging millions of staff members to participate in a variety of fun and simple activities in their workplace to allow them to #sitless and #movemore.

Growing scientific evidence indicates that sitting for more than four hours each day (however active a person you are outside the workplace) leads to multiple health risks (including cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, certain cancers and mental health problems).

More than three-quarters of respondents to the survey, of 250 business organisations across the UK, wanted to see clear leadership, encouragement and better education on active working solutions, 38% believed a complete culture change was necessary, and 34% wanted access to adjustable desks.

Only 28% of companies were said to be ‘very aware’ of the health risks of prolonged sitting, an encouraging 36% were ‘somewhat aware but keen to know more’, almost 22% were ‘somewhat aware but not that bothered’ and 13% were totally ignorant on the matter.

Almost 60% of co-workers questioned said they spend six or more hours a day seated during a typical office day and almost 90% spend upwards of five hours a day sitting down.

This despite more than 75% of office workers who replied to the survey confirming that they were ‘very aware’ of the health risks of prolonged or excessive sitting. A further 20% said they were ‘somewhat aware’ of the dangers of the ‘sitting disease’ but wanted to know more. Fewer than 5% were either unaware or simply not that bothered.

Almost a third of line managers were reportedly either aware of the health risks of sedentary behaviour but not bothered or were simply unaware of the issue. Only 28% of companies were said to be ‘very aware’ of the health risks of prolonged sitting, an encouraging 36% were ‘somewhat aware but keen to know more’, almost 22% were ‘somewhat aware but not that bothered’ and 13% were totally ignorant on the matter.

In contrast, close to 90% of employees believed they ‘absolutely’ or ‘somewhat’ should be more active at the workplace, while only 5% thought they had no need to increase activity during their working hours.

The average UK office worker sits 10 hours each day, with almost 70% of sitting taking place at work and 73 % only leaving their desk for toilet or tea breaks. Studies indicate that ongoing inactive behaviour is a risk for ALL employees, however fit and active they are outside the workplace.

Employees across the country need to start asking for more activity in the workplace. No employee should be expected to sit for excessive or prolonged periods, like battery hens” says Gavin Bradley, Founding Director of Active Working. “On Your Feet Day is the perfect way to start experiencing the wellness and productivity benefits of sitting less and moving more. We are thrilled to see so many companies getting involved and engaged. We are all becoming increasingly aware of the importance of breaking up and reducing sitting time.

On Your Feet Britain is a day when workers are encouraged to give their health a boost, converting sitting time to standing time by taking some simple actions. For example:

  • Stand during phone calls
  • Stand and take a break from your computer every 30 minutes
  • Use the stairs rather than the lift
  • Have standing or walking meetings
  • Eat your lunch away from your desk
  • Walk to your colleague’s desk instead of phoning or emailing them
  • Stand at the back of the room during presentations

If you’d like to get involved in On Your Feet Britain on 28th April, register here!

 


UK businesses are failing health needs of their office-based staff

Posted on 16th May 2017 by

Workers appeal to bosses to take action that will help them lead healthier working lives

The vast majority of office-based workers are aware of the health dangers of spending hours on end seated at their desks, but management is failing to respond to their needs, according to a survey to mark On Your Feet Britain day on Friday April 28.

Less than a third of line managers were reportedly either aware of the health risks of sedentary behaviour at work but not bothered, or were simply unaware of the issue.

In contrast, close to 90% of employees believed they ‘absolutely’ or ‘somewhat’ should be more active at the workplace, while only 5% thought they had no need to increase activity during their working hours.

On Your Feet Britain, now in its third year, is a free event run by the Get Britain Standing campaign in association with Active Working, a community interest company. More than 2,500 businesses have signed up to On Your Feet Britain, encouraging millions of staff members to participate in a variety of fun and simple activities in their workplace to allow them to #sitless and #movemore.

Growing scientific evidence indicates that sitting for more than four hours each day (however active a Active working goPhysioperson you are outside the workplace) leads to multiple health risks (including cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, certain cancers and mental health problems).

More than three-quarters of respondents to the survey, of 250 business organisations across the UK, wanted to see clear leadership, encouragement and better education on active working solutions, 38% believed a complete culture change was necessary, and 34% wanted access to adjustable desks.

Only 28% of companies were said to be ‘very aware’ of the health risks of prolonged sitting, an encouraging 36% were ‘somewhat aware but keen to know more’, almost 22% were ‘somewhat aware but not that bothered’ and 13% were totally ignorant on the matter.

Almost 60% of co-workers questioned said they spend six or more hours a day seated during a typical office day and almost 90% spend upwards of five hours a day sitting down.

This despite more than 75% of office workers who replied to the survey confirming that they were ‘very aware’ of the health risks of prolonged or excessive sitting. A further 20% said they were ‘somewhat aware’ of the dangers of the ‘sitting disease’ but wanted to know more. Fewer than 5% were either unaware or simply not that bothered.

Almost a third of line managers were reportedly either aware of the health risks of sedentary behaviour but not bothered or were simply unaware of the issue. Only 28% of companies were said to be ‘very aware’ of the health risks of prolonged sitting, an encouraging 36% were ‘somewhat aware but keen to know more’, almost 22% were ‘somewhat aware but not that bothered’ and 13% were totally ignorant on the matter.

In contrast, close to 90% of employees believed they ‘absolutely’ or ‘somewhat’ should be more active at the workplace, while only 5% thought they had no need to increase activity during their working hours.

The average UK office worker sits 10 hours each day, with almost 70% of sitting taking place at work and 73 % only leaving their desk for toilet or tea breaks. Studies indicate that ongoing inactive behaviour is a risk for ALL employees, however fit and active they are outside the workplace.

“Employees across the country need to start asking for more activity in the workplace. No employee should be expected to sit for excessive or prolonged periods, like battery hens” says Gavin Bradley, Founding Director of Active Working. “On Your Feet Day is the perfect way to start experiencing the wellness and productivity benefits of sitting less and moving more. We are thrilled to see so many companies getting involved and engaged. We are all becoming increasingly aware of the importance of breaking up and reducing sitting time.”

On Your Feet Britain is a day when workers are encouraged to give their health a boost, converting sitting time to standing time by taking some simple actions. For example:

  •   Stand during phone calls
  •   Stand and take a break from your computer every 30 minutes
  •   Use the stairs rather than the lift
  •   Have standing or walking meetings
  •   Eat your lunch away from your desk
  •   Walk to your colleague’s desk instead of phoning or emailing them
  •   Stand at the back of the room during presentations

About Get Britain Standing:

Get Britain Standing is a dynamic campaign (operated by Active Working CIC) to increase awareness and education of the dangers of sedentary working and prolonged sitting time. We’re part of a multi-national campaign to promote #SitLess #MoveMore.

Learn More

If you’d like to learn more about ‘Active Working’, come along to our free event on 5th July at 2.30pm. At this free seminar goPhysio’s Non-Clinical Director, Fiona, will share the latest findings and recommendations on being active in the workplace. With a focus on ‘Active Working’, Fiona will discuss the benefits, challenges and practicalities of changing workplace behaviours to encourage a healthier working life.

  • Find out more about the problem of sitting too much
  • Learn how you can be more active in the workplace
  • Learn more about why being active is so important to your health
  • Practical ideas to take to your workplace

Fiona will also be joined by one of goPhysio’s Physiotherapists, who will be on hand to answer any of your work or postural related issues, aches or pains. Book your free place here.

Read more

Active working tips – drink more water

Active working tips – desk exercises 

Active working tips – dress to impress

Looking after yourself working from home


 


Active Working Tips – Drink More Water

Posted on 26th April 2017 by

In addition to being encouraged to exercise or move more, increasing our fluid intake is another  simple way we are encouraged to help improve our health and wellbeing.

I recently came across these water bottles from HydrateM8. These bottles have graduated timings printed on them which allows users to monitor their water intake on a daily basis ensuring gradual and consistent levels of hydration. Recognising that there was no way I was drinking enough throughout the day, I invested in one.

I’m a sucker for targets and goals, (I’ve worn an activity tracker for years and love being measured!), so this water bottle has been great for me! I think I’ve gone from drinking about 500ml to 2 litres + a day!

The added bonus of increasing fluid intake throughout the day, is the resultant increase in trips to the loo. Subsequently, this means I’m getting up from my desk and moving more throughout the day! Win, win!

I have no choice but to take the stairs to the ladies, but if you have a choice or stairs or lift, or could walk to a toilet a little further away from your nearest one, this is another way to increase your activity. It may sound insignificant, but you’d be amazed how these little bursts of activity can add up over time!

You can purchase HydrateM8 bottles here.

#SitLess #MoveMore #DrinkMore


Active Working Tips – Dress to Impress?

Posted on 25th April 2017 by

Continuing our series of ‘Active Working’ blogs this week in the lead up to ‘On Your Feet Britain‘, our tip today is

Wear comfy clothes and footwear 

Research has shown that wearing comfortable clothes can actually help increase activity in the workplace. A stiff suit or high heels doesn’t encourage you to take the stairs or go for a walk at lunchtime!

Depending on your working environment or policy, a uniform or smart clothes may be essential. If so, it’s worth considering taking a change of shoes to encourage you to go for a walk at lunchtime or it may be possible to choose fabrics that are more comfortable, roomy, breathable or have some stretch in them. Think about investing in some great flats or funky chunky heels as a compromise.

Many offices now have a ‘dress down’ Friday – this is a great opportunity to get a bit more activity in the day, when you’re feeling more comfortable in what you’re wearing.


Active Working Tips – Easy Desk Exercises!

Posted on 24th April 2017 by

This Friday, Active Working are encouraging office workers to sit less and move more, with their initiative ‘On Your Feet Britain‘!

Every day this week, in the lead up to On Your Feet Britain, we will be sharing some top tips for you to try in your workplace.

Why sit less and move more?

There is a growing body of scientific evidence that suggests excessive and prolonged sitting (irrespective of your level of physical activity) can lead to increased risks of:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes (T2)
  • Mental Health
  • Cancers
  • Backache
  • Thrombosis
  • Obesity
  • Muscle degeneration

So, today, here’s some simple exercises you can get up and do at your desk to break up your sitting time and re-energise your body! Don’t worry about your colleagues questioning what you’re doing, get them to join in too!

Wall Press Desk Exercise

Sit Stretch Desk Exercise

Leg Up desk exercise

Perfect Posture desk exercise

Chair twist desk exercise

Chest stretch desk exercise

You could even download the exercises as a screensaver at work here!

Read more……

Looking after yourself when working from home

On Your Feet Britain 2018

Is standing the new sitting?

#SitLess #MoveMore

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Is Standing the New Sitting? goPhysio Investigate

Posted on 19th September 2014 by

Standing desks are very common in the USA, but haven’t really caught on yet over here yet in a big way. Recent studies have shown that a sedentary lifestyle is now one of the highest risk factors for diabetes, heart disease and even some cancers. Another study suggested that sitting for prolonged periods is as dangerous as smoking is for your health. So should we be standing more?


What are the benefits of standing?
• Better posture
• Reduced low back pain
• Reduced risk of serious health issues
• Reduced risk of obesity
• Higher productivity levels


Standing desks are exactly what they sound like – a higher level desk that allows you to stand whilst you are working. They come in all shapes and sizes – some are a fixed height, while others use hydraulics to switch between a standing and sitting desk. However, you don’t need to buy an expensive desk – a patient of mine has constructed his own with a section of worktop from Ikea!


There are some great, cost effective DIY standing desk ideas on Lifehacker & Ikea Hackers.

A couple of our patients now use standing desks. They have feedback that:
Pro’s
• More energy
• Increased productivity
• Reduced pain – low back and sciatic nerve irritation
• More active round the office

Con’s
• Can’t do all tasks standing
• Sore feet (he had to go out & buy new shoes!)
• Achey legs

If standing doesn’t appeal to you, there are still plenty of things that you can do to help improve your posture at work.

  • Research has shown getting up and standing just for 1-2 minutes every 20 minutes is beneficial. It allows the major back and leg muscles to contract, helping with blood flow. It also prompts the body to burn more calories, which is a nice bonus!
  • Using an ‘active’ chair could also be an option – saddle seats and gym balls make excellent chairs and encourage to sit in a much better posture.
  • Rearranging your desk layout can also help – make sure you aren’t over-reaching for your keyboard and mouse, that your screen is at the correct height and if you use a laptop, consider getting a docking station or stand to improve the angle.

Standing desks might not be for everyone, but the benefits of being more active are worth making the effort to spend at least some of your day up and moving!

We’d love to see your standing desks and hear your thoughts if you’re already using one – pop us an email with a photo and let us know how you’re getting on!