MY STANDING DESK EXPERIENCE
Six months ago, I started using a standing desk for almost all the work I do at home. After years of reading about all of the bad things that happen to the human body with prolonged sitting, I decided to give the standing desk a try. The results have been surprisingly good and I wish I started using the desk years ago.
My Lower Back and Neck Feel Better
I was having lower back stiffness when I sat at the desk in the morning and any prolonged (>30 minutes) of computer work was bothering my neck. None of these problems are present with the standing desk. I can work for hours at the standing desk and remain pain free.
My Focus Is Better
Working at the desk has improved my productivity. I focus much better on my work and feel better at the end of my computer time. I find that I fatigue and get distracted more easily when I work in a sitting position. Standing keeps me more awake and aware. I also find that my limited word processing skills are better when I am standing.
At the end of a long day on the job, the standing desk can create some foot fatigue. It is not pain, just some soreness that goes away quickly with some tennis ball rolling on the bottom of each foot. I have noticed these symptoms are worse on the days I have performed some high intensity conditioning activities such as jump rope or sprints.
Prolonged Sitting Is Physically Destructive
More and more we are de-evolving into a nation of sitters. Between television, driving, and computer work, it is not uncommon for many of my physical therapy patients and fitness clients to sit for ten hours a day. Unfortunately, you cannot train away the bad effects of prolonged sitting with a 45 minute session of exercise. Check out juststand.org for information on the deleterious effects of prolonged sitting and what you can do to fight back.
Michael S. O’Hara, P.T., OCS, CSCS
YOU, A BOSU, and WHEW!
A New Twist On An Old and Much Hated Exercise
I had a basketball coach who was a Burpee fanatic. You lost–Burpees, turn the ball over—Burpees, late for practice—Burpee Eternity. I hated doing Burpees, but I was never, ever tired in a practice or a game. I believe Burpee conditioning drills gave me the physical stamina and mental toughness to stay strong an entire game.
Fitness engineering has developed a new training tool and now we have the Bosu Burpee. A Bosu is an inflated half dome with a hard, flat bottom. It has handles on either side that you use when performing the Bosu Burpee.
The Bosu Burpee gets you moving from the ground up, at a quick pace with a strong core stabilization demand. Too many gym activities are seated, slow, and neurologically numbing. Neurologically and metabolically, we need to practice moving the entire body at faster speeds to stay fit. The Bosu Burpee is a total body conditioner that brings us up to speed.
Start with your hands on an inverted Bosu—bottom side up, in a push up position. Perform a push up with your chest touching the Bosu. Jump both feet up under the hips. Try to get your feet planted flat on the floor. Rise up from the floor and lift the Bosu overhead. Return the Bosu to the floor and repeat the movement from push up to overhead lift. Learn to do this movement slowly, and then once you have the motion “neurologically grooved”, pick up the pace. Bosu Burpees are a conditioning drill that should be performed at a fast pace. They work best if performed for set periods of time. Try starting with twenty second intervals and build up to 60 seconds.
Bosu Burpee Modifications
If you cannot do a push up or your arms give out way before the rest of the body, try performing the push up from the knees or keep the elbows fully extended and eliminate the push up portion of the exercise. As you practice this exercise, your arm strength will improve. If your middle sags and/or the Bosu wobbles, you need to dedicate more time to core stability training. Add some physioball roll outs, TRX fall outs, and front hovers to your exercise program.
Scoring the Bosu Burpee
Set a timer for sixty seconds and count how many Bosu Burpees you can perform. Remember you must start from the bottom and only full repetitions are counted. The best I have ever done is 18 repetitions. My middle gives out before my arms or legs—I need more core training. I believe this scoring system is a fair representation of Bosu Burpee performance.
Levels Men Women
Beginner 10 4
Intermediate 16 9
Advanced 22 14
Michael O’Hara, P.T., OCS, CSCS
CORE-TEX TRAINING PLATFORM
The New Tool In Our Training And Rehabilitation Toolbox
The latest addition to our rehabilitation and training toolbox is the Core-Tex. This thirty inch round platform floats on three roller bearings that permit it to tilt, translate, and rotate. The tri planar motion of the Core-Tex creates an ideal environment for us to work on retraining our patients’ balance, coordination, and proprioception. It can also be used to create challenging core and shoulder girdle stability activities.
One Stop Shopping For Better Proprioception, Balance, and Coordination
You can improve all three of these critical components of function with one or two Core-Tex activities. Beginners can use the handrail to create a more supportive environment, and as they improve, progress to reducing the assist from the arms. Integrating head movement, arm reaches, and weight shifts into the drills enables the clinician to design activities specific to the patient’s needs.
Keeping The Loads Level
The Core-Tex reveals any deficits in weight distribution. If the patient is unconsciously avoiding loading one side the body, the movement of the Core-Tex platform quickly reveals the flaw. The therapist can then prescribe training to increase tolerance of loading on the affected side and return for re-evaluation on the Core-Tex.
Tuning Up Your Righting Reflexes
Many of the sensors that keep our body in an upright position are located above the neck. I don’t care how strong or flexible you are, if these neural feedback systems do not work properly, you will not move well. Evaluating and improving the function of righting reflexes centers in the inner ear and the neck is a frequently neglected area of rehabilitation and fitness. Incorporating activities that involve moving the head and neck while standing on the unstable Core-Tex platform has proven to be very beneficial in patients with slow reflex response times.
Rotation In The Right Places
Being able to rotate through the thoracic spine and hips is an important aspect of optimal function and pain free existence. Many physical therapy patients have neck and shoulder pain driven by a lack of thoracic spine range of motion in rotation. Deficits in hip rotation produce undue wear and tear and eventually pain in the knees and lower back. The Core-Tex turns 360 degrees and allows us to teach transverse plane motions at the hips and thoracic spine in a fully functional upright, weight bearing position.
Michael S. O’Hara, P.T., OCS, CSCS