Sitting… Is It Really THAT Bad For You?

I bet you’re sitting down while reading this…

Whether you’re sitting in a coffee shop, you’re at work at your desk, lounging on your sofa after a long day, or sat up in bed, you’re probably sitting comfortably while reading this.

And I don’t blame you – sitting has become so ingrained in our daily lives that most of us (myself included), spend more time in a chair every day than we do sleeping.

Let me ask you this: Did you know that the average person spends 9.5 hours a day seated, and around another 7 asleep?

Well, if this sounds like you, you’re not alone – after all chairs are almost everywhere we turn…

From the seats in our car, to the office chair, to the sofa where we watch TV. Sitting seems like the most natural thing to do in the world, I’m sure you’d agree? However, what if I told you that sitting was actually worse for you than you thought? What if sitting all day brings on far more health issues than you could imagine? Just think about your typical daily routine for a second…

How many hours did you count that you spend sitting in a chair? If it’s 9, (or more), then you may want to consider making some small changes to reduce the risk of unwanted health problems creeping up on you. Here’s why – simply, our bodies are not designed to sit.

If you think about it, hundreds and thousands of years ago we spent most of our time standing. We were either hunting, gathering or traveling, and although we’re very lucky that times have changed and we no longer have to hunt for our food, a few modern ‘conveniences’ have actually made things harder for us.

Sitting is one of those conveniences that can cause all sorts of problems to our body when it’s done in excess (also known as the typical ‘sedentary lifestyle’).

When we spend a long time sitting down, this puts a lot of pressure on our lower back. While you might not realize it, as hours of sitting time gradually build up, and can result in health issues such as bad backs, tight and tense neck/shoulder muscles and even painful, swollen knees.

As well as unwanted aches and pains.Too much sitting can also weaken your muscles, can give you bad posture and even leads to weight gain.

So how can we fix this problem you might be wondering?…Well, if we could all work with a standing desk that would certainly help, but I realize that’s not (always) going to be possible so one thing you can start doing today, is to get up every 30 minutes.

Set a timer on your computer, or keep an eye on your clock and get up and move. This could be a quick walk around the office, a walk to the printer or to grab drink of water. Simply get up and move! Any extra time spent being active is a bonus.

One of our clients, Stephanie, had a really great idea, she goes for 20 minute walk each morning before heading to work which makes all the difference, and she even tells me it makes her feel more productive for the day!

So to sum it up – we’re creatures of habit, and our bodies are a result of those habits – getting up and moving more might feel hard at first, but do it enough and it’ll soon become second nature, you’ll feel healthier, more active and reduce the risk of back pain too.

Trupti Mehta, PT, MS, OCS

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