According to research for the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (December 2020) the “Worldwide surveillance of self-reported sitting time: a scoping review” found that the average person sits down for 4.7 hours per day (although it is thought that the real figure is probably more like 6.7 hours per day because the survey participants were ‘self-reporting’!).
A significant proportion of this sedentary activity comprises ‘screen time’ – e.g. computer, TV and mobile phone use, and the associated health concerns are well-documented e.g. increased BMI, heart issues, diabetes etc. The definition of ‘sedentary’ includes not only sitting but also lying down or reclining and most of us are attracted to taking the comfortable option on a daily basis. This has all been increased recently, particularly during the Covid-19 restrictions.
These health concerns make it all the more important that we maintain our physical flexibility – the capability to use our joints and muscles in a full range of movement without restriction, discomfort or pain.
The frequency and extent of our daily movements impact the development and engagement of our muscles and joints. As time passes the scope of our mobility becomes limited. Using some parts of our body more frequently than others can cause tightness in some areas and slackness in others. This can produce pain and affect balance. Lower back and hamstrings feeling more tight this year? Maybe all that working from home on the computer is to blame!
This is why, in our sessions, we try to seek the ideal level of flexibility which allows your body to determine the optimum posture for smooth movement and strong balance which suits you. You will have noticed that in our sessions, I include joint mobilisation and flexibility work at the beginning and end, in addition to strength and cardiovascular conditioning. Sometimes, your personal needs may require a little more of this as part of your programme!
We’re all growing older and time takes its toll on the elasticity of our muscles and the suppleness of our joints. The exercises we do are designed to help you maintain a level of both strength and flexibility which can help you not only enjoy the activities of daily life, and everything else you want to achieve!
So – don’t skip the stretches!