Most people fail to grasp how life’s incidental behaviors– walking, sitting and standing– are responsible for so many chronic aches and pains that develop over time. Many individuals pay close attention to technique when exercising but don’t think twice about walking, sitting and standing, and the lower back pain that can develop as a result.
These three things that we do most often (you can throw sleep in their as well) but pay least mind to, often determine the alignment of the bones and the tone of our muscles.
Being upright on two legs presents us with a maintenance issue. We have to work to have successful upright posture, a dilemma that doesn’t exist for my dog and cats. A vertical spine is not held up by itself. It takes awareness and effort to get it right and for what it’s worth we have only been doing it for a very short time (homo sapien sapien is only around 400,000 years old).
There are so many things taught to young children but walking, sitting, and standing are not usually among them. Unless “stand up straight” or “don’t slouch” counts for teaching but I don’t think they do. Most people come to posture corrections as adults, if at all, and the concept of ergonomics at a desk or workstation still eludes most. And as a walking teacher I can assure you that no one thinks they need to learn to walk before they begin the process.
Sitting is the new smoking is an evocative phrase but I think a distinction can be made between sitting and sitting correctly. No one is well served by sitting at a desk for 8, 10 or 12 hours a day but sitting correctly, which means aligning your pelvis properly, minimizes the stress and pain that often results from prolonged sitting.
And between walking, sitting and standing, walking tops the list of talents thought to be absorbed by osmosis. Lower back pain made worse by poor walking technique is common enough to be mind-boggling. While walking might not be the direct cause of your lower back pain, poor technique will surely exacerbate the suffering. Learning to master life’s incidental behaviors can go a long way towards living a longer healthier life.