Our bodies were designed, built, and programmed for movement. Our joints need movement to self-lubricate through the bag of synovial membrane.
This movement even feeds food and oxygen to the bloodless cartilage inside the joints, and carries away the products of metabolism. Movement also benefits our muscles, by contracting, toning, and stretching them. Even our stress defenses were wired to energetic responses.
But now we have redesigned our ancestors' active workplace to remove most movements as we sit all day at a desk. So the modern response to stress has gone from the “fight and flight” option to a not-so-energetic “sit and stare” response.
But new research is indicating that even more is at stake with our modern inactivity. Mental functions are all sharper if we move, and duller when we sit. Even our immune mechanisms are enhanced with movement. Scientists have emphasized h that sitting still for 4 hours at a time is basically an “inflammatory”event, sort of like eating a donut. (Worse, obviously, if you are sitting and eating for the same four hours!). Not only do bones lose their density and muscles lose their mass, but our mental alertness suffers from this inactivity too.
So our basic instincts of movement are correct, and we indeed need room to roam. In other articles, I have reviewed posture at the office, as relates to carpal tunnel and low back pains.
But another solution comes from the world of Tai Chi.
An interesting discipline, Tai Chi basically is a slow motion version of martial arts. Speed up the film of people doing Tai Chi in the town square, and you get a Jackie Chan fight scene. While it may look simple, it involves weight shifting, swaying, stretching and toning. And, above all, balance. Now doctors are appreciating how well it works with patients suffering from Parkinson’s as well as many other medical conditions. See this link to learn more
Requiring no equipment, Tai Chi is easy to start. While learning can be an infinite process, even a beginner can benefit right away.
So if you are getting stressed by your desk job, try to interject a few moments of Tai Chi into your breaks. Remember to set a timer for every fifteen minutes, to remind yourself to move something. For example, at least pull back your shoulders, neck and head away from the computer, and try to touch your shoulder-blades together in a “rowing” motion . At the very least, make this a simple part of your routine for a few seconds. If space and time permit, use one of your 15-minute breaks to stand up and try a few Tai Chi moves, and notice the difference. Who knows, the whole office might join in!