Repetitive movement patterns cause stress to build up in our bodies, whether it be long
periods of sitting or training for a marathon. The gradual build up can lead to injury and
chronic pain if left unmanaged.
The build up can be very sneaky and often first presents itself as an acute injury that
seemingly comes out of the blue.
Let’s say your working week is dominated by sitting: on the bus, in front of your computer,
at lunch and at home in the evenings.
Every Wednesday evening you go to a yoga class that you’ve been attending for two years.
This week as you push up into Cobra pose, like you do every class, you feel a sharp shooting
pain in your lower back and down your leg.
You automatically assume it was the Cobra poses’ fault, or that you pushed into the pose
wrong, or maybe it was the instructor’s fault for not cueing you correctly?
The reality is that months of repetitive sitting has led to a build of stress in your lower back
and that Cobra pose was simply the last straw. You could have also put your back out
stepping off the bus, turning around to talk to a co-worker or brushing your teeth.
An acute injury caused by stress build up is typically out of proportion to the action that
So, how do you steer away from the slippery slope to chronic pain? In this case, variety of
movement is the key to living pain free.
Start by taking note of how many hours you spend sitting in a chair. Break up your sitting
hours by introducing regular movement snack breaks. A movement snack can be as quick
as a seated upper back stretch and a sip of water or as big as taking a lunchtime class at
UP. The key is to move often during the day.
Sit on the floor as much as you can in exchange for the couch. If you are not used to sitting
on the floor for long periods of time, build up your tolerance adding five minutes at a time.
You are much more likely to make regular adjustments to your seated position while on the
floor as opposed to lounging on the couch or in a chair.
As you move through your day, resist looking down at your phone every thirty seconds.
Look up and acknowledge your surrounds. We spend so much time looking down these
days, the counterbalance of casting our gaze upwards and gently lifting our chins is
necessary and can often lead to happy discoveries.
Look for variety in your workouts and for every high intensity workout you perform balance
out with a Pilates, MELT Method or AntiGravity practice where breath and length are the
Although regular exercise is extremely valuable on our quest to stay active and pain free, it
is the moments we take to break up our everyday patterns that truly make an impact.
Written by: Cat Eddy