Don’t let sitting crumble your bones. It is said that “sitting is the new smoking”, and in our modern culture exacerbated by post-Covid business and social practices we are tethered to our phones and computer screens more than ever. Terms like “Tech Neck” have more than just an aesthetic impact on our musculoskeletal system. According to the Mayo Clinic, prolonged sitting increases your risk for osteoporosis. Osteoporosis means porous bones and by our mid-twenties, we have reached our maximum bone density. As we age, bone health maintenance is critical to our skeletal support system.
We hear about the benefits of gentle weight-bearing exercises like walking, weight lifting, yoga, and Pilates to maintain the integrity of our bones. However, often overlooked is the impact of posture on bone health. In a University of California study, forward head posture (FHP) exponentially increases the risk of a future spinal fracture.
Try this! Check your posture: Stand with your back against the wall, and measure the distance from the back of your head to the wall. The average human head weighs 8-10 pounds. For every inch away from the wall, 10 pounds of shear strain is placed on the spine and soft tissues of the low back and pelvis. So, imagine 3 inches forward, is 30 additional pounds of load.
But isn’t gravity helpful to bone density? Not where there are inefficiencies in the structure like with forward head posture. Due to strain, microtears, fatigue on the nervous system, and compression on the lungs and diaphragm, FHP can create an acidic environment in the body causing your bones to dump calcium. This impact and friction on your base structure can also cause tension headaches, increased blood pressure, shoulder issues, osteoarthritis, disc herniations, and balance disorders.
Not to worry, pick your head up, stand tall and try these bone loving techniques as you are zooming (pun intended) through your day:
1) Create an ideal workstation
3) Three-part breath - This breath practice can reduce the acid in your system creating a harmonious environment for your bones and brain. Either sitting or lying down:
- Fill your belly up with air. Then when the belly is full, draw in a little more breath and let that air expand into the rib cage causing the ribs to widen apart.
- On the exhale, let the air go first from the rib cage, letting the ribs slide closer together, and then from the belly, drawing the navel back towards the spine.
- Repeat this deep breathing into the belly and rib cage for about five breaths. Try not to breathe too deeply. If you become dizzy or light-headed, return to your normal breathing pattern.