date Sep 29, 2017
authors kelly Starrett
reading time 5 mins

Posture !== exercise

Many studies are also demonstrating that the effects of long-term sitting aren’t reversible through exercise or other good habits. This means that if you eat well and work out religiously for an hour a day, but sit for all or most of your waking hours, the sitting behavior will chip away or even cancel out the benefits of all your exercise at the gym. You are still considered a sedentary person.

Kids walking to school trend

The centers for Disease Control reports that only 13 percent of children walk to school today, compared with 66% in 1970. Among students living within 1 mile of school the number who walk plummeted from 90% to 31% between 1969 and 2001.


Dr. James Levine calls it Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis or NEAT. According to Dr. Levine, someone who is deskbound for 8 hours a day approximately burns 300 NEAT calories during the period. In comparison, someone who is not deskbound, such as a waiter, burns around 1000 calories!

The movement brain

It turns out that our sedentary lifestyles are not just bad for our bodies, but also bad for our brains. Humans throughout history have realized that physical activities leads to creative thinking, innovation and optimal cognitive function. The ancient Greeks understood the link between walking and optimizing cognitive function for students.

Deskbound guidelines

  1. Reduce optional sitting in your life
  2. For every 30 minutes that you are deskbound, move at least 2 minutes
  3. Prioritize position and mechanics whenever you cancel
  4. Perform 10 to 15 minutes of daily maintenance on your body.

Stretching vs Mobility

Many people mistakenly think stretching and mobility work are synonymous. Stretching focuses only on lengthening short and tight muscles. Mobility, on the other hand, is a movement based integrated full-body approach that addresses all the elements that limit movement and performance, including short and tight muscles, soft tissue restrictions, joint capsule restrictions, motor control problems, joint range of motion dysfunction, and neural dynamic issues.

Standing and sitting

The human body is designed to readily adopt and maintain an upright position. But ur modern habits kill some of that natural capacity and skill. For example, when you sit slouched forward, it is difficult to break that habit when you stand up. And when you sit for prolonged periods, your hip flexors, hip capsules and trunk muscles become adaptively stiff, which makes it even harder to stand correctly. When standing proves difficult, all movement becomes more difficult. After a while even easy, everyday movement puts strain on your body and hurts your spine, hips and legs. So what most people do? They attempt to relieve the pressure by sitting down again, which only exacerbates the problem.

Environments encouraging movement

In Japanese nursing homes, where residents sleep on the group (and have to get up and down from the floor every day) very few falls are reported. In fact, the number one reason people end up in nursing homes in the United States is that they can no longer get up off the ground independently. This isn’t an issue of ignorance or laziness; it’s a matter of our environments not encouraging us to move.


Belly-based breathing is the way you want to breathe when at rest and while performing normal day to day activities. Breathing diaphragmatically grants you access to your parasympathetic nervous system, which does the opposite of your sympathetic, fight or flight nervous system. … Deep breathing aka belly breathing is a direct shortcut to the ability to down-regulate or de-stress. Unless you are doing something strenuous like running or lifting weights, you should be breathing in and you through your nose and belly most of the time.

The bracing sequence:

  1. Setup your pelvis in a neutral position
  2. Balance your rib cage over your pelvis and brace the position
  3. Organize your shoulders
  4. Set your head in a neutral position

Active workstation

A standing workstation enables you to burn more calories, activates more muscle groups than sitting, and increases blood circulation. Standing also reduces your risk of cardiovascular diseases, obesity, diabetes, and some cancers. But when you are accustomed to sitting, standing all day can be strenuous. This is especially true if you are overweight or have been desk-bound for the majority of your adult life.

Movement breaks

Movement breaks should be at least two minutes long and should be performed every 20 to 30 minutes whenever possible. This might seem like a lot of breaks and you might be worries about how your coworkers or boss will perceive your time away from your desk. But moving is not just good for your body, it’s good for your mind too. May studies have shown that the average worker “works” only 3 hours a day. The other 5 hours are spent procrastinating, chatting with coworkers or staring mindlessly at a wall.

Sample movement and mobility routine

(Smashes are with a lacrosse ball)

  1. Neck Movement
  2. Wrist roll
  3. Hip opener
  4. Quad Smash
  5. Shoulder and chest opener
  6. Global forward bend
  7. Glut Smash
  8. Global rotation
  9. Squat
  10. Anterior neck mobilization
  11. Arm circles
  12. Forearm Smash
  13. Michael Phelps
  14. Foot smash
  15. Wrist Mobility
  16. Shoulder opener

3 golden rules of sitting:

  1. Sit with a neutral spine
  2. Get up and move every 20 to 30 minutes
  3. Perform 10 to 15 minutes of daily body maintenance

Ergonomic chair?

The bottom line is that ergonomic chair will never solve the problem of sitting because the entire goal is to create an artificial support system for your spine… While this type of support might work for passive sitting, it doesn’t translate to a work environment in which you need to spend the vast majority of your time actively sitting.

Mobility Baselines (Yoga pose names are in brackets if available)

  1. Deep squat test (Malasana)
  2. Pistol test
  3. Hip hinger test
  4. Couch stretch test
  5. Over head test
  6. Shoulder internal rotation test
  7. Toe/Foot test
  8. Wrist Test (reverse arm in upward dog pose)

Whole body mobility prescription

  1. Head, neck and jaw
  2. Upper back, trapezius and scapula
  3. Chest and Anterior Shoulder
  4. Posterior Shoulder and Lat
  5. Low Back and Trunk
  6. Elbow
  7. Forearm, Wrist, and hand
  8. Glutes
  9. hip
  10. Upper Leg
  11. Knee
  12. Lower Leg
  13. Ankle, Foot and Toes