Functional Neurology
of Middlesex County
Gregory Symko, D.C., D.A.B.C.N.
747 Main Street Suite 205
Concord, MA 01742
Directions & Office Hours

Are we made to sit all the time?

How to add exercise into your life without adding stress:


After our ancestors stopped chasing deer in the woods our physical activity suffered.  Farming was arduous and made up for this, but farming is much more difficult than hunting and gathering.  Ask any farmer.  But most of us don’t farm.  The average commute time in Massachusetts is about 27 minutes.  At work, the average time a worker sits is 5 hours and 41 minutes. That is a lot of time sitting in one day.  Researchers have discovered that after just 20 minutes of sitting the part of your brain that runs your posture and muscle tone shuts down.    So the average worker sits at least 6 hour a day.  That is 360 minutes or 18 times that the brain shuts down.

The part of the brain that shuts down is called the Ponto-Medullary Reticular Formation (PMRF).  The PMRF is very important for our body function.  Not only does it run posture and muscle tone, but helps with blood pressure, heart rate, digestion and a whole host of functions that your body does automatically.  There is more.  Ninety percent of all your brain’s thinking goes to the PMRF and thus ninety percent of the feedback from the PMRF goes to your brain.  If the PMRF is not working in this regard, it could have effect on our thinking.  This could mean depression, anxiety, dark thoughts, or fearful thoughts.

Further, what they discovered is that exercising 3 times a week, although helpful, is not enough to counter this effect.  This is pretty overwhelming.  The key is to break up the sitting.  It is up to you but here is a simple suggestion to get you started.  While driving at traffic lights think about walking.  This can fool your brain and the PMRF.  Thinking about physical activity is almost like actually doing the activity.  It will take practice, but can make a difference.  While working, every 20 minutes stand up and march in place for about one minute.  Other simple things are to take the stairs, and every hour go for a short walk.  Try this for 30 days to see what effect it has on you.  You will be happy you did.