Dodging the Desk Sentence
October 20, 2014
By now most of us have read that sitting too long at our office jobs is akin to a death sentence. It sounds dramatic, but the science behind this is astoundingly horrific. I call it the “desk sentence.”
First off, studies have shown that sitting for long periods of time is slowly killing you by decreasing your metabolism, circulation of blood flow and other vital fluids, as well as cell growth. Basically, you are accelerating your aging process.
When you sit all day, studies show that the key enzymes that burn fat decrease their effectiveness by 50 percent. What’s more shocking is when you don’t move, you don’t absorb nutrients as well, your blood sugar is decreased, and you increase the risk of diabetes by close to 10 percent. In addition, your risk of heart disease goes up, and, of all things, you are more prone to depression.
“We just aren’t really structured to be sitting for such long periods of time, and when we do that, our body just kind of goes into shutdown,” Dr. Toni Yancey, a professor in the health services department and co-director of the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Equity at the University of California, Los Angeles, said in an interview with National Public Radio.
But let’s not dwell upon the bad. Let’s do something about it.
How MELT comes into play
What’s also bad is that sitting helps shut down your body’s Autopilot, the self-correcting mechanism that I discuss so often in relation to the MELT Method. Instead of your body telling you that it needs to correct our posture, sitting just lets these signals have a hall pass.
That’s one reason that MELT can help counteract the negative effects of sitting too long. (If it sometimes sounds like I say MELT can help everything we would associate with pain or aging, I’m even surprised to learn how useful it is in helping a wide-range of health woes.)
A quick five-minute MELT Foot Treatment (perfect for the office setting) is a simple way to restore the fluid state of your connective tissue system and eliminate some of the stuck stress in your body that causes this system to be in a chronic state of dehydration.
When you sit all day, your tissues in the lower body and your backside are in a constant state of tension and compression. We know connective tissue has a behavior. When you compress it or pull on it for long periods of time you pull the vital fluids out of this supportive collagen matrix. This damages the collagen fibers, decreases the flexible supportive environment connective tissue creates, and ultimately you get what I call pre-pain signals, like joint stiffness, when you finally do get up from your chair.
Exercise is great, but…
So you think you are immune from the negative effects of sitting too long because you are an avid gym rat? I don’t want to deflate your biceps or diminish your leg presses but even exercising for 30 minutes a day doesn’t make a dent in the roots your butt is growing while sitting in your chair all day. Not a dent. The only dents you create are the ones on your legs called cellulite.
While exercise is excellent for maintaining overall health, getting up and moving, combined with MELT, is better for counteracting the problem with sitting too long.
Too bad our tendency is to want to sit. After all, it feels OK while you are doing it. But think about it: Your upper body is being propped up by your lower back, which is the recipient of compression forces—not good at all. When sitting, the compression forces of your upper body settle into your lower back, in the lumbar region of the spine. Seated postures also cause the muscles of your spine to have constant tension like a taut rubber band. Constant tension or compression on the space of your low back causes fascial dehydration and the deep stabilizing muscles to become inhibited or delayed in doing their job when you go to stand up or bend over to pick up something from the floor. Suddenly, and without warning, you sneeze or bend down to tie your shoes and your back goes into spasm. You think that pain was caused by poor movement, but that’s what I call “sudden chronic pain.” It’s caused by the repetitive strain of sitting. Sneezing shouldn’t cause you back to blow out by the way. Your poor back was a victim of your chair.
And when you sit all slumped over (like many tend to do) it’s even worse because you aren’t actively engaging the supporting mechanisms of your deep core stabilizing system.
The easy antidote
Just MELT for two minutes a couple times in your day. You don’t have to do the 20-minute full treatment to make some gains and reduce your sentencing. Start with the soft ball under the center of your foot. Don’t cause pain when you do it. Just step on it and take a breath.
Then, try Gliding, a MELT technique to stimulate the fascial tissue directly related to your pelvis and the back of your thighs. With consistent pressure, rub the ball back and forth, from left to right, under your heel for 30 seconds to prepare the tissue for the next move called Shearing. Shearing requires very little movement of the ball. Keep the ball in one place just in front of your heel and wiggle your foot left to right in a smaller movement to get the cells of your connective tissue to react with the pressure and movement you create.
Finally try the MELT Rinse technique by pushing the ball from your toes to your heel, in one direction with consistent pressure five to 10 times. If you then close your eyes and stand with your feet hip width apart you will be able to feel the fluid exchange running up your leg. If with your eyes closed your leg feels more seamless, grounded, and stable, you are feeling new hydration passing to your spine. Sense this, and then repeat on your other foot. It’s that simple.
Stop your desk sentence by MELTing your feet at your desk daily. Now get back to work before your boss starts asking questions.