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Workplace programs combat pitfalls of sitting

Today’s work environment, especially work that requires long hours of sitting, is hostile to the short and long term well-being of people. Put simply, the human body was not designed to sit for long periods of time. In fact, the first of 5 Principles of Posture is “The Body is Made to Move.”1

The human body is a complex and dynamic mechanical system that thrives best with movement. Sitting for extended periods of time is antithetical to humans, yet it is a modern day requirement. Since it is a requirement of such a large portion of the population, it is critical that employers recognize the importance of posture training exercises and incorporate preventive strategies into the work day of its employees.

The human body detests stasis. Movement is literally a nutrient that the body requires. Whether it’s causing muscles to contract and strengthen, increase oxygenation, pumping venous blood back to the heart or to be cleansed by the liver, getting things moving in the body suits our physiology.

According to posture expert Dr. Steven Weiniger, when people spend most of their lives sitting, they literally forget many of the subtle ways their body should be able to move. This kind of “motion amnesia” happens when nerves aren’t stimulated from movement. Technically known as neurological proprioception, movement literally “charges the brain’s batteries” by keeping more muscle and nerve fibers working for full function. Understanding this, we can infer that inactivity and prolonged sitting can actually foster mental health conditions such as depression from this deprivation of movement. In fact, three out of the top 10 medications prescribed in North Dakota were anti-depressants. It’s a good bet that other states fare not much better. A daily regimen of posture and muscle strengthening, mobility increasing, and proprioception-driving exercises is one of the easiest and valuable programs an employer can support and implement. How long will it take for corporate America to get the picture?

Today’s posture specialists are standing at the forefront of cultural change, especially in the workplace. The baby boomer population is demanding ways to stay young and fend off old age. Having “strong posture” is one of the best ways to do just that. It is incumbent upon those in the posture field to engage their communities and be the leaders that are required to usher in this new wave of preventive health habits that for so long, has been ignored. As a chiropractor, I know I can represent my profession proudly with the message of health, vitality and anti-aging through comprehensive posture training. If we take a leadership role in our towns and cities and use the “strong posture” format, I think we have a very good chance of breaking through to the other coveted segments of our society who have never stepped foot inside a chiropractor’s office. That is one of the goals I am pursuing in my community and a legacy I wish to leave.
About the Author:  Dr. Mike Jorgensen is a chiropractor and Certified Posture Exercise Professional practicing in Fargo, North Dakota.

1 – Weiniger, Steven.  Stand Taller~Live Longer: An Anti-Aging Strategy.  BodyZone Press, 2008.

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