hy movement is so important to our health.We have all heard the saying, “you
are what you eat.” it can also be said that “you are what you do.”
or more appropriately, “you are what you don’t do.” You might
be surprised to learn that the human body was not designed to sit at a computer
for 8-10hr/day. The human body was designed to move.
What don’t we do during the winter months more than any other time of
the year? We don’t move! When do people get sick? The winter! We may
call it a cold, but science has taught us that a ‘cold’ has nothing
to do with the temperature outside. Throughout the year we come in contact
with millions of viruses and bacteria each and everyday. No matter how much
you wash your hands you won’t be able to avoid these microscopic creatures.
The most important way to make sure that we don’t get ‘under the
weather’ is to strengthen our defenses, also know as the immune system.
The immune system captures foreign invaders (i.e. viruses and bacteria) and
needs a place to dump this trash for removal. The system in our bodies that
is responsible for removing the bacteria and viruses that come in contact with
is called the lymph system. This is why we get sore lymph nodes when we are
ill. Lymph nodes are connected throughout the body much like our blood vessels.
The difference is that the lymph system doesn’t have a pump, like our
blood system does, the heart. Therefore the lymph system requires muscle contraction
and relaxation to push these toxins through the system. Think of the muscles
in your body as pumps much in the same way the heart is a pump for distributing
your blood to your body. Think about what happens when your heart stops pumping.
The idea of using your muscles as pumps is a fantastic idea. Muscles serve
a double function. Your muscles not only help you get around and catch food,
but they help you stay healthy. That was until the advent computer and the
50 hour work week.
I am an optimist, but I am not naïve. I know that I will never get rid
of the computer and the 50 hour work week, what I can do is educate people
on what they can do to minimize the effects of ‘the 21st century syndrome.’
The majority of us spend our time at a desk. If we could move some of those
muscles (pumps) while at our desk we would be half way there. How many times
do we find ourselves engrossed in a project to look up and the clock and see
half the day has gone by and we can’t remember if we have stopped to
take the time to breathe.
I have come across a few pieces of software that help the computer user remember
to breathe, take breaks and stretch throughout the day. All of which have been
shown to decrease stress, improve health and increase productivity.
Smoooth: This is a simple piece of software that places a
shape of your choosing on your desktop that contracts and expands. This shape
is a reminder to take long regular breaths. This software was designed a Portland
designer. You can download a 5 day trial at www.dissolvestressnow.com
Work Rave: This one is not as fun as it sounds. This is a
free piece of software that has periodic stretch and relaxation reminders that
you can customize. The full version can be downloaded for free at www.workrave.com.
RSI Guard: RSI is short for Repetitive Stress Injury. The
most common of which is carpel tunnel syndrome. This software provides the
user with stretches, microbreaks, usage statistics and a number of different
features intended to prevent injuries from computer usage and boost productivity.
A full 45 day trial version of this software can be downloaded at www.rsiguard.com.
These pieces of software are not the answer to all of your health problems.
What they are, are a reminder to be aware of you body and health throughout
the day, to take breaks. move your muscles and remember to give your body it’s
most important fuel, oxygen.