Save your back, get off your butt

Experts say simple stretching exercises can alleviate many health issues

BY LAURA-LEE CASCAGNETTE

How much of your day do you spend sitting? Many Canadians spend their morning commute sitting in some form of transportation. They arrive at their job, time spent hovering over a screen and, you guessed it, sitting. The workday is finally done, and many people love to wind down after a long day in front of the TV, mindlessly scrolling through social media, all the while, you get it, sitting. This a day in the life of most Canadians.

Students spending hours on the computer can lead to neck and back pain. (Photos by Laura-Lee Cascagnette/Sheridan Sun)

According to Get Canada Standing, Canadians sit almost 10 hours each day (on average), which can lead to muscle weakness, reduced calorie burning and even disrupted blood sugar levels. For students and many folks in the workforce, sitting is inevitable, but there are ways to help with the negative impact of sitting on your caboose all day.

It can start with something as simple as standing up or seeking treatment from someone like a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT).

Aimee Cooper, a RMT and owner of Active Life Care and Wellness, says it’s very important for someone who spends most of the day sitting to stand up every hour and stretch. This helps with something lots of us ignore, posture.

“It keeps your body aligned and when you have bad posture it creates muscle imbalances which overtime can lead to chronic pain.” Cooper also stresses the importance of getting regular treatment with a massage therapist, “Over time doing the same repetitive motions, like sitting, looking down, typing on a laptop etc., can result in pain points such as neck tension, carpal tunnel, frozen shoulder and sciatica. Getting frequent massage treatments can help reduce how your body experiences pain and avoid flare ups,” she says.

For many people, consistent stretching and frequent treatment is the best solution to dealing with pain. “When I go for treatment, it really helps relieve the pain and stiffness I feel,” says Amanda McBride, a Sheridan Early Child Education grad, works at a daycare lifting children. She says she needs to get massages to help with her back issues.

“We have back problems that run in my family. My RMT has been great and gives me exercises to do throughout the times I am not getting a massage.  It has really helped soothe my aches and pains.”

Even though there are many physical benefits, massage therapy and stretching have positive results for those who suffer from anxiety, depression, headaches and insomnia, according to the Mayo Clinic. Students attending Sheridan College who are enrolled in the SSU health plan, receive 40 per cent coverage for massage therapy treatments. Coming up with the last 60 per cent is worth the investment.

“Over time, not seeking treatment to correct posture can lead to nonreversible issues in the back or neck,” Cooper says.

For students who are not in position to visit an RMT, follow the stretches from Active Life Care and Wellness to help with your back and neck pain during your day.

  • Pull the head gently forward, feeling a stretch through the back of your neck. Hold for 10 seconds.

 

About Laura-Lee Cascagnette 5 Articles
Laura-Lee is a Journalism student at Sheridan College. She also is a lifestyle content creator on her Youtube channel, "Life of Laura-Lee". Laura-Lee is interested in a career in Television and will be graduating April, 2019.

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