Did you know that less than 20% of jobs offer any physical exertion?
This is quite concerning when we think that our bodies have been designed for regular movement, yet we spend the bulk of our day sitting still. On average an adult sits for 39 hours a week, whether it be at work, commuting or home in front of a screen.
While a brief period of sitting here and there is natural, long periods of sitting day in and day out can have a serious impact on your health and consequently shorten your life.
What is the impact too much sitting is having on our circulation, bone density, organ function and muscle strength?
When you stop moving for extended periods of time, it’s like telling your body its time to shut down and prepare for death. When you sit, blood flows slower and muscles burn less fat, making it easier for fatty acids to clog your heart. In the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, research shows that women who sit for 10 hours or more a day have a significantly greater risk of developing heart disease than those who sit for five hours or less.
Your digestion process is also impacted from sitting. After eating, sitting causes your abdominal contents to compress, slowing down digestion. Sluggish digestion can lead to cramping, bloating, heartburn and constipation.
Your brain function is also slowed as a result of too much sitting, with less fresh blood and oxygen, which are needed to trigger the release of brain and mood enhancing chemicals.
Not only are our organs impacted negatively by too much sitting, but a lot of our neck, shoulder and back pain is a result of this simple act. It is common to hold your neck and head forward while sitting at a computer or playing on your phone, leading to strains to your spine and muscular imbalances creating pain and discomfort.
More pressure is also put on your spine when sitting then standing, and is exacerbated when sitting hunched in front of a computer. It is estimated that 40 percent of people with back pain have spent long hours at their computer each day. The disks between your vertebrae are designed to expand and contract as you move, allowing them to absorb blood and nutrients. When sitting for extended periods, the disks are compressed and can lose flexibility over time.
What can be done to lessen the impact of sitting? And get you up and moving?
- Start or end your day with some exercise – walking for 30 minutes, swimming or ride to work.
- Take regular breaks – Every 20-40 minutes get up and walk around – set reminders so you don’t forget!
- Drink plenty of water to keep you hydrated throughout the day – Aim for 2 Litres
- Park your car a reasonable distance from work so you can get a walk in at the beginning and end of the day.
- Limit your TV/phone use to 60-90minutes a day.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Whenever you can – Get up and MOVE! Star jumps anyone??
A short burst of activity can make a huge difference to your blood pressure, posture, stress levels and cognitive ability. Remember, your body has been designed to move!
For more information and a Free Postural Assessment, phone the clinic on (02) 9651 5559 to book an appointment with one of our Chiropractors.