Updated: Oct 19, 2021
You are probably reading this whilst sat down…and most likely with shoes on your feet…Your shoulders are rolled forward, and your head is sitting in front of your neck looking at your computer screen or mobile phone. Am I right?
Today this has slowly become the most common position for the average human. The human body simply isn't built to sit all day and be inactive. It is a magnificent piece of machinery that is capable of extraordinary things. The sad fact is that many of us spend more time sitting than we do sleeping.
We sit to work, sit to eat, sit to drive, sit to be entertained, and sit to relax. We live in a sitting culture, wherein in most circumstances, it is rude to be standing up. It all starts once we enter school, at the age of 5, we are given a full-time desk job, told to sit still, shut up, and don’t fidget. Once school is out of the way, the majority of humans progress into another full-time desk job…but at least we get paid for this one, right??
It's lucky you get paid for this job because you will most likely be using this money to buy expensive, ill-fitting shoes and then fixing your aches and pains from these sedentary jobs.
Humans are designed to MOVE!
Evolution puts human beings at the top of the food chain through their ability to move well and move often. There is no better way to fix an injury, pain, or restriction than just simply moving. Too many times, we go to see our GP for musculoskeletal injuries and we are told to rest and take some anti-inflammatories. This isn't taking anything away from your local GP, it is just the fact that they are not specifically trained in this area, especially in soft tissue injuries. For the majority of injuries, your GP should be your very last resort or only if you are in need of a stronger pain killer (not advised). Being told to "rest" is the worst possible solution for the body. Resting stops blood flow, movement, muscle activation, joint mobility, etc.
For example, if you tweaked your back by simply bending over to pick up your groceries or just by putting on your shoes, all of the muscles around the site of injury will spasm up to try and protect the spine. The body has now gone into "protection" mode and it is the spasming of these muscles which are causing the majority of the pain. So, if you were to go to work, sit at your desk for the next eight hours, and basically do nothing by sitting still, these muscles will just stay in their spasmed state. The quickest and safest way to decrease pain is to simply move, and if you are only able to stand up, excellent, that's all you need to do to help ease the pain.
We are taught that going to the gym will help improve your everyday health and fitness, but these 1-2 hours of movement each day does not counteract the average 13 hours of sitting, a human does each day. We learn how to move, lift, and perform with efficient technique at the gym, but somehow most of our injuries occur in the gym. This is down to the fact that we are “prepping” our bodies for the gym with our sedentary habits. Imagine rocking up to the gym with the freedom in your joints and the mobility gained from an active day, instead of heading straight for the foam roller to unstick your stiff body. By improving your movement throughout the day, you actually improve your performance in the gym, not the other way around.
Once we have finally started to stand up and move, there is unfortunately another problem that arises. The moment we start to walk as a toddler, our feet are suddenly wrapped up in pieces of stiff, rigid rubber and leather and barely ever see the light of day again. If humans were designed to wear shoes, why were we not born with them on our feet?
The human foot is one of the most complex, beautiful, and important parts of the body and yet has become one of the most problematic and damaged areas today. Poor footwear choices, an excess of sitting and poor current treatment options create a perfect storm where our feet have come under attack. Nobody seems to be getting the simple advice needed to avoid foot problems and when they do seek treatment it focuses on controlling symptoms instead of addressing the root cause of the problem. This palliative system has led to widespread problems with feet and we need a solution.
The majority of shoes today are designed more for fashion over function. The two biggest flaws that shoes have are to do with the size of the toe box (where your toes sit) and the heel pitch (the height drop from your heel to toes). Over time as your feet are squashed into a shoe that doesn’t actually look like a foot, your toes start to adapt to the lack of space and cause all kinds of problems such as – foot pain, lack of balance, loss of proprioception, rolled ankles, plantar fasciitis, etc, etc. and this is only pain associated with the feet.
Your feet are your body's foundation and connection to the ground. Without these structures working efficiently, everything else above the feet will be compromised in some way. E.g., if you are wearing a high heel of any size, your centre of mass is shifted forward so your body then has to overcome this by shifting other parts of your body into positions it is just not capable of in the long run. The human body is a highly adaptable machine and can withstand some heavy pressure from poor positions, overloading tissues, and poor mechanics but eventually it will start to talk you in the words of PAIN.
Together, both sitting down and wearing shoes, have slowly transformed your body into a tight, stiff, inactive, unoiled, faltering machine. So, if you could just do two things today, all I ask is that you Stand Up and Kick-Off your Shoes!
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