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Movement and Exercise

“Sitting disease” – why your brain wants you to move.

By December 19, 2011March 27th, 2024No Comments

During the last twelve months I have done a lot of writing – a book, my blog posts, some articles, presentations and workshops. They have all been completed with me being in a certain position i.e. sitting at a desk in front of my computer.

I’ve never had to spend so much time on my derriere before and I have to say I noticed a few things.

Firstly something which I can only describe as “writers bottom”, an intense desire to get up, jump up and down or move to do anything physically that would relieve me from the torment of having to sit a moment longer.

I have always endeavoured to ensure I exercise daily, with a 30 to 40 minute walk, some yoga plus a swim a couple of times a week, but this no longer felt adequate to help keep my brain cells firing.

Thirdly I started experiencing backache and various other aches and pains I had never had before. Was it my age I pondered? It was only when I took action to help my sore back by having some physio, doing some cycling and doing yoga that the penny finally dropped – I had advanced “sitting disease” which was impacting my physical and mental well being. Time to change!

But how many of us are not in the position to allow for that change? Luckily I won’t be as dormant next year, as my work will be involving a lot more movement with walking and standing. But if you are a sedentary worker having to sit every day in front of your desk how can you do things differently and overcome the sitting disease?

And it’s not just our bottom, which feels the impact; our tummy muscles lose tone and we tend to put on weight too. The spread of the derriere is accompanied by a spread around the middle. So if your clothes are getting a bit tight and your tummy is protruding more than it used to, perhaps it’s time to consider how much time you are sitting and find a way to sit less.

This week a colleague shared this video clip from Dr Mike, which is one of the best health promotion videos I have seen for a while. He explains exactly WHY exercise is the best prescription your doctor could ever prescribe because it is the remedy to assist so many of our modern day ailments: obesity, depression, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and dementia.

So do yourself a favour, no make that two…..
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSWVEw0KY-4&w=560&h=315]

Firstly watch this video and then commit to filling in your daily prescription of “finding thirty” every day.
And why am I going on about sitting too much? Because of the negative effect it has on our brain function. We evolved to move because it stimulates the production of neurochemicals that support and nurture our existing brain cells as well as promoting the production of new neurons every day.
We need to “find thirty” every day as a minimum to keep our brain working at it’s very best.

So let’s make “sitting disease” and “writer’s bottom” a thing of the past and look to creating a more “brain fit” you.

Dr Jenny Brockis

Dr Jenny Brockis is a medical practitioner and internationally board-certified lifestyle medicine physician, workplace health and wellbeing consultant, podcaster, keynote speaker and best-selling author. Her new book 'Thriving Mind: How to Cultivate a Good Life' (Wiley) is available online and at all good bookstores.

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