Did you know that you can increase your risk of dying by 40%, double your cardiovascular disease, decrease your pancreatic function, ramp up your colon cancer by 35%, increase the risk of IBS and celiac disease, as well as wreck your spine and bones all with one simple task?
Who thought you could accomplish so much by doing so little? All you have to do is sit more than 6 hours a day.
Seriously though, it’s true, and the fact that Americans sit an average of 9.3 hours per day explains why, with all the advances in diagnosis and treatment protocols, we as a nation continue to suffer from many preventable conditions.
It is stated that for every two hours sitting, the risk of cardiovascular disease increases by 15-20%. Whenever we sit, a message is sent which tells the body to slow the production of the fat dissolving hormones by almost 90%. So we have no calorie burn plus no fat breakdown; that is a true double whammy! And from a functional standpoint, prolonged sitting is absolutely horrible for your spine and musculoskeletal system.
Even sitting properly increases pressure on the spine by over 40%. Sitting with a slouched posture more than doubles that pressure, and let’s be honest, most of us slouch a little.
Sitting by nature shortens specific muscles which aid in pelvic stabilization. These include, but are not limited to, the hamstrings, hip flexor muscles, iliotibial band (a band of fibrous tissue running down the outside of the thigh, providing stability to the knee and hip) as well as the piriformis (muscle extending from pelvis into gluteal region). The shortening of these muscle complexes leads to a limitation in pelvic mobility.
So, what’s the answer to this seemingly inevitable problem?
Quit our desk jobs? Quit commuting and ride our bikes to work? Stand all day long? None of these are very realistic options, but the solution does not have to be that complicated. The first and most obvious line of defense against sitting too long it to not sit too long.
Sorry, I had to. What I mean is, every 30 minutes you are sitting I want you to stand up, bend side to side 3-4 times then bend backwards for a count of ten. That simple 20-30 seconds every half hour will work wonders in the long term.
Many employers are now utilizing “standing desks” to potentially solve the issue. The problem with this is that prolonged stationary standing is not much better for you in the long run. The truth is, rotating between sitting and standing every 30-45 minutes is by far the most effective, and many of the newer standing desks have the ability to lower themselves into a seated position.
Another highly effective means of counteracting the negative effects of prolonged sitting is to participate in a resistance training program. Aerobic training alone has no benefit when the goal is to increase pelvic or spinal stabilization. So find a training facility or gym that understands your specific needs and goals.
Remember, your health is your choice; so don’t just “sit on it.”
Thanks to OsteoStrong Murrieta for the technical information in this article.