Core Strength

Weekly Health Focus #2- Pelvic Floor

Weekly Health Focus #2- Pelvic Floor

This week we’re going to focus on a health topic that isn’t talked about a lot in terms of office health and that’s pelvic floor dysfunction. Over 4 million Australian’s suffer from some sort of bladder leakage irregularity. Before you say it’s not a problem for me, ask yourself how much of the day to I spend sitting with my stabilising muscles switched off?

Bladder leakage is becoming a problem for the young and fit not just the elderly. The adult diaper industry is huge business. There are even special pads made for Crossfitters and gym goers. Lifting weights is often blamed for the problem. But wait a minute, we’re human shouldn’t we be able to lift heavy things without wetting ourselves. One of the major contributors to the problem is society’s attachment to prolonged sitting.

The pelvic floor is not an isolated muscle. It is a complex group of fibres that connect the pelvis, sacrum and coccyx. Its purpose is not in isolation (so why do we do isolating exercises), it is part of the midline stabilisation chain. The entire midline stabilisation chain form the pelvic floor to the diaphragm works like a piston pump to stabilise our body before moving. When sitting for long periods these muscles switch off and atrophy over time, creating weakness and dysfunction.

So how do we address this problem? Move, get up out of your chair and move. Get a standing workstation and stand while you work, with your tailbone tucked down and under to activate the chain. Do functional exercises throughtout your day (not just 1 hour at the gym).

Did we mention that a strong pelvic floor will improve your sex? Do these exercises everyday for the rest of the week to activate and build your awareness of the muscles. Post your experience to comments.

Plank – Lie face down with forearms on the floor and hands clasped. Extend the legs behind the body and rise up on the toes. Keeping the back straight, tighten the core and hold the position for 30-60 seconds (or as long as you can hang). Remember to tuck the tailbone down and under to activate the pelvic floor and flatten out the back.

Bridge – Lie on your back with the knees bent and feet hip-width apart. Place arms at your side and lift up the spine and hips. Create a straight line from the shoulders to the knees. Only the head, feet, arms, and shoulders should be on the ground. Try to do 10 reps, holding for 10 seconds each time. This time tuck the tailbone up to the sky to activate the pelvic floor and flatten out the back.

The Perfect Squat

30 / 30 Squat Challenge

30 / 30 Squat Challenge

Welcome to Office Revolution’s first monthly challenge. If you’re looking to tone and lift your butt, build bigger biceps and impress the opposite sex, our challenges might help do that, however our goal is none of those things.

Our challenges will improve your range of functional movement, give back years that your office chair has taken from you, improve musculoskeletal integrity, build core stability, improve your breathing, digestion, mental health, and productivity.

Challenge your colleagues to create comradery and a positive, high performance workplace.

Our first challenge is the 30/30 squat challenge. The squat is one of the most functional human movements. A movement, which most of us has lost over time.

The goal is to perform 30 full depth squats (butt to the heels) on day one and increase by 10 every workday for 30 consecutive days. Now most people in the office will not achieve a full depth squat on day one, so ease into it. Remember your goals – injuring yourself is counterproductive. Use your chair as a depth finder, lowering the height of your chair each day to discover an improved range.

Some people may need to start with 10 squats and increase by 1 every day. Wherever you are the aim is continuous improvement. Go home to your loved ones in an improved physical and mental state, every day! Challenge each other but remember there is no winner, so look inside of yourself and find your limits. Push them, and notice your mental performance change, your creativity will increase and your work day will be full of intuition and fun.

The Squat Basics
• Place feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart, hips stacked over knees, knees over ankles.
• Roll the shoulders back and down away from the ears. Note: Allowing the back to round (like a turtle’s shell) will cause unnecessary stress on the lower back.
• Extend the arms out straight so they are parallel with the ground, palms facing down (like your hands are on someone’s shoulders at a 7th grade dance). Or, if it’s more comfortable, pull the elbows close to the body, palms facing each other and thumbs pointing up.
• Initiate movement by inhaling into the belly, and unlocking the hips, slightly bringing them back. Keep sending hips backward as the knees begin to bend.
• While the butt starts to stick out, make sure the chest and shoulders stay upright, and the back stays straight.
• Keep the head facing forward with eyes straight ahead for a neutral spine.
• Let the hip joint squat lower to the ground than the knees, if comfortable. Pro tip: Try squatting onto a chair. Gentle tapping it with the butt will be a reminder to squat low.
• Engage the core, and exhale while driving through the heels to return to standing. Imagine the feet are spreading the floor (the left foot to the left, right foot to the right) without actually moving the feet.

Start the 30/30 squat challenge today and add your experience to comments. Share with others you wish to challenge.

How to Hack Your Sleep: Quality vs Quantity?

How to Hack Your Sleep: Quality vs Quantity?

One of the most influencing factors affecting your performance in the office, in your sport, in life, or in between the covers is most certainly the quality of your sleep. Many studies have drawn the conclusion that the quality of your sleep is actually a more important factor than the length of your sleep.

You can tell when your body has had a “good” night’s sleep. You’re more alert, energetic, playful and creative. So how do we ensure quality? The simplest cheapest method that’s proven and that I use most nights is soft tissue massage. Before going to bed lay on a firm ball like a tennis ball, lacrosse ball or massage ball, role out any tight spots in your hip flexors, glutes, lower back or anyhwere that’s tight. My personal favourite is the psoas muscle which connects the spine down through the to the femur. Releasing tension here after a long day in the office is amazing. Check this link out for a tutorial https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmuRslhTuq8

Dave Asprey from Bulletproof Executive lists a nunber of sleep hacks that are proven. Try one or try them all, it will change your life:

<“1.First, sleep in a pitch-black room. Make it as dark as you can possibly make it. Block all the light sources you can, whether it’s a curtain or just pinning up fabric as needed. Seriously, if you live in a city, you need blackout curtains that don’t allow in all the light pollution. Cover LEDs with black electrical tape.
2.Start winding down at least two hours before bed. This means less bright lighting at night, as well eliminating, or at least dimming, computer screens and TVs.
3.Third, though it may seem obvious, caffeine is not a sleep aid – stop drinking it by 2:00 p.m. each day, or at least 8 hours prior to bedtime (earlier if you’re sensitive to it).
4.Go to bed by 11:00 p.m. when possible because your body creates a cortisol surge after 11 p.m. to keep you awake.
5.Don’t exercise within 2 hours of bedtime, unless it’s relaxing yoga or something similar.

For more info on sleep hacking go to https://www.bulletproofexec.com/?s=sleep

How to Live Longer, Without Stepping Foot into a Gym, Even If you Work in an Office

How to Live Longer, Without Stepping Foot Into a Gym, Even If you Work in an Office

Do you sit for most of your working day?

Have you ever wondered what impact your work is having on your physical and mental health?

Well, you’re not alone, I do too. The latest research suggests that we are 40% more likely to die an early death even if we exercise regularly.

If you want to live a long and healthy life you don’t need to throw in your executive lifestyle and pump weights 7 days a week, just yet.

The answer is simple – move more, our bodies weren’t made to sit still all day. The opportunities in our day to improve our health are endless. Here are just a few suggestions:

  • Get up out of your chair at least every 30 minutes.
  • Drink more water and take more bathroom breaks.
  • Ask your boss for a workstation that allows you to stand and sit at will, as your body talks to you.
  • Move your printer down the hall.
  • Squat 10 times every time you sit down.
  • Bear crawl across the office.
  • Do calf raises while you wait for printing.
  • Implement regular stretching breaks.
  • Suggest standing / walking meetings.

Movement is easy, the real challenge is that changing the habits contributing to “Sitting Disease” is more complex. Changing these habits requires creativity and a commitment to changing the out-dated office culture. Don’t be afraid to lead by example. As Mahatma Gandhi said “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. Stand up in meetings. Squat up and down while you work and look like a meerkat over your cubicle wall (this is the nickname that our team has adopted). Be brave and take your next client meeting to the park – they’ll thank you for making their day.

If you’re ready to take your office health into your own hands contact us at Office Revolution and we will drive the culture change needed in your workplace. Our mission is “to return as many people as possible to health, so they can reach their goals and achieve their dreams”. Contact us today.

For sales information contact sales@theofficerevolution.com.au

For general enquiries contact paul@theofficerevolution.com.au

For a free workplace assessment call 0416656637.

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Weekly Health Tip #1 – You are as old as your spine – back problems from sitting too much

The Chinese say you are as old as your spine. Back problems from sitting too much start when we stop mobilising our spine. Move around your office – just move – make it a big part of your life, or you’ll pay for it later. We are a living, physical body, we need to move more.

Mobilise your spine across as many different planes as possible. Stand more, walk more, bear crawl, back bend, touch your toes, squat, twist, do the worm. If you’ve abandoned movement for your chair, approach it carefully. Start small and ease into it. Maybe start a guided practice like dance, martial arts or yoga.

Here are some exercises you can do anywhere, to get your spine moving. Do each one very day for the week and notice how you feel. Post your experience to comments.

Inchworm – Stand up tall with the legs straight and let those fingertips hit the floor. Keeping the legs straight (but not locked!), slowly lower the torso toward the floor, and then walk the hands forward. Once in a push-up position, start taking tiny steps so the feet meet the hands. Continue for 4-6 reps.

Bear Crawl – Embrace that inner grizzly. Starting on the hands and knees, rise up onto the toes, tighten the core, and slowly reach forward with the right arm and right knee, followed by the left side. Continue the crawl until you scare your colleagues off.

HOW OLD IS YOUR SPINE?

What happened to the Health in Health and Safety??

Organisations these days are doing a pretty good job at Safety. The introduction of legislation in recent years around Occupational Health & Safety obligations has really improved our safety focus. However organisations are doing a really poor job of Health and in particular managing long-term chronic illness.

If you take a look at the safety slogans and replace the word “safety” with “health” you’ll see what I mean: “Safety is Everyone’s Responsibility; Safety – Habit of a Lifetime; Safety Starts with You” and my personal favourites “The Safe Way is the Only Way; and Safety First”. Great concepts and I’ll never take anything away from our Health & Safety brothers working to keep people out of harm’s way. Everyone has the right to go home to their families and loved ones safely.

But let’s take a look at these principles in terms of health: “Health First, or The Healthy Way is the Only Way”. Is health really first when our organisations supply vending machines full of coke and chocolate. And of course it wouldn’t be a work site without a pie warmer or pie van. Nothing against the good old Aussie pie but “The Healthy Way is the Only Way” I don’t think so.

Are you going home healthy?

Are you going home healthy?

Now to simplify the concept let’s apply it to people in sedentary (sitting) jobs only. Are you going home to your family in the same state you came to work in? “I didn’t hurt myself today” –OK good you had a safe day. Now let’s extend the period to 1 year of sitting in an office or driving a dozer and ask the same question. Are you going home to your family in the same state you came to work in?

Now my back pain is playing up, I get headaches from a sore neck, my blood pressure has increased, I’m at a higher risk of diabetes and heart disease, the strength of my bones has decreased and I’ll end up with early onset osteoporosis. My hip flexors are tight and I pulled my groin playing with the kids (my sporting career is over).

Then there’s the more subtle yet just as severe consequences – my risk of cancer has increased by 40% (1) (I really don’t want to get colon cancer, it’s one of my worst nightmares), my pelvic floor is weekend and I will eventually become incontinent (how I dread adult diapers). My breathing is shortened because my diaphragm is suppressed, which causes me to be in a state of stress and affects the quality of my sleep. Oh yeh and I’ve put on five kilos, I don’t like looking at that spare tyre in the mirror.

I do my hour of exercise after work three times a week, yet these things are still happening to me. These conditions are caused by my prolonged sitting, which is a separate contributor to my amount of exercise. I really need my job, as I love my work and it provides for my family. My employer is great but my job is sending me to an early grave. My employer definitely isn’t achieving “Zero Harm” in the workplace.

This may sound dramatic or over exaggerated, but this is reality, over 4 million Australians suffer incontinence (2), 3 and a half million Australians have heart disease (3).

Health can come first in the workplace. It’s very, very simple just like eating meat and veg is better than McDonald’s. We know how simple it is. The hard part is making the change and committing to a healthier longer life for ourselves and our employees. The simple solution is to move more and sit less. However it’s a bit more complicated when you introduce tight deadlines and an office environment and ergonomics that haven’t changed since the 1980’s. To put “Health First” our organisations need to systematically look at the risk factors, the causes and apply a hierarchy of controls including elimination, replacement and administration. We need to drive change from within, change our built environment, encourage and support each other, so that we all go home to our families or loved ones the same way we came to work – today and for the rest of our lives.

Office Revolution is committed to the real meaning of “No Harm” our Step Into the Flow Program will help you and your employees put “Health First” every single day in your workplace. You may call us ambitious but we will strive to send you and your people home in a better state of health than they came to work in. We achieve this though education, commitment, individual risk assessments and personalised training plans. We’ve adopted the best approaches from the schools of physiotherapy, chiropractors, yoga, pilates, Crossfit and human psychology to drive positive culture change for good. We’re creating a community of like-minded individuals to support change and drive behaviour.

If you like this post and want more similar content and weekly health topics please subscribe to our blog. Submit your details on our Contact Us page to get a free risk assessment for you and your colleagues.

 

References:

(1)    Sitting down ‘raises cancer risk’; John von Radowitz; From: AAP; June 17 http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/latest-news/sitting-down-raises-cancer-risk/story-fn3dxix6-1226956973080?nk=b5249fc910d19c4622e204e6400f5f9f

 

(2)    Australian incontinence data analysis and development; released: 2 Mar 2006 author: AIHW http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=6442467824

 

(3)    Cardiovascular disease: Australian facts 2011; released: 17 Mar 2011 author: AIHW http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=10737418510

The Origin of “Step Into The Flow”

Step into the flow…
Swap sitting for moving! Replace paying to be in the audience -> with playing as a part of the performance. And you’ve got it exactly… this is the Office Revolution. Welcome to our very first blog post, our excitement is overwhelming as you join us on a journey of movement, improvement, education and ultimately flow.

Flow is the state where you are fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment of the activity you are doing. To be in flow you need to be free from distractions – no sore neck, sore back, tight shoulders or headaches. To be in flow and performing in a state of pure enjoyment and productivity you must release yourself from these previously accepted chains of the office environment.

This blog and our Step Into The Flow program will provide weekly health topics, monthly challenges, education and inspiration to change the culture of your office, get you out of the office chair and moving like humans were made to move. Love your job, be healthy, be happy, because this moment right here, right now is extraordinary just like the next.

Join us – sign up to our newsletter, like us on Facebook, follow us on twitter and Step Into The Flow!