What Are The Risks Of Too Much Sitting?
Do you suffer from chronic back or neck pain?
Many people do, and while there are many acute causes that can be a source of your pain such as a traumatic accident or a sports injury, one prominent lifestyle choice is becoming a growing concern in medical circles— “too much sitting.”
From television binge watching to computer gaming, or simply because of the change from a manufacturing economy to a service economy, Americans are sitting now more than ever……. and all of this sitting may be becoming a problem.
According to the Mayo Clinic, extended periods of sitting can have very detrimental effects on your spine and joints. Despite what you might think, sitting is not a natural position for your body to be in for long periods of time.
Is sitting the new smoking?
Why Sitting Is Bad for Your Health?
Sitting for long periods creates tremendous stress not only on your spine but also on your knee and hip joints. The growing body of scientific research is leading doctors to conclude that sitting is now a significant risk factor in and of itself for spinal and postural issues.
It’s harder these days not to sit because most jobs these days require extensive computer work. Numerous studies point to the detrimental effects of sitting— in addition to chronic back, neck and joint pain, it can also lead long-term health issues such as obesity, diabetes and heart problems.
What You Can Do?
It’s best to think of it in terms of what movements are not happening because you are sitting. Standing up creates a change in posture that means that your body will better interact with gravity. And that means we constantly need to be engaged in movement (not necessarily exercise movement). Of course, a structured exercise program in addition to this reaps great benefits as well.
Basically, the key is to move and shift your position often throughout the day when you’re sitting for long periods. Our bodies were designed to stand, squat and even kneel, but not necessarily to sit.
Doctors recommend standing up over 30 times per day to counteract the effects of sitting. You don’t even need to walk around—simply stand. Frequently interrupt those long periods of sitting.
There are more opportunities to stand up throughout the day than you might think. Do housework, garden, cook, stand to peek over a cubicle and tell your co-worker “hello”.
As the NIKE ad says…Just do it!
Keep in mind that standing continuously is just as bad as sitting continuously. It is about movement and changing position throughout the day. People with jobs that require a lot of standing, like nurses and retail associates, have long talked about the joint pain and spine problems they’ve suffered from standing for long hours.
The key is to try to incorporate small movements into your daily routine. Think of it as providing your body with a gravity stimulus. For the stimulus to be effective, you must stand up over 30 times a day to get the benefit.
Some people set a timer on their computer or Fitbit. When it goes off, they stand.
Some people squat and then stand to get even more movement. The important thing to keep in mind is that it is never too late to start. Try it for a week at work and see how you feel. Our bodies are amazingly resilient and you can recover from the damage of excessive sitting.
Try it! You’ll be amazed!
As with any form of medical treatment, you should consult with your physician before embarking on any treatment plan. The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be deemed accurate for the purposes of diagnosing your particular medical condition