Do you know the average time adults spend sitting each day? EIGHT HOURS. This equates to about HALF of our waking hours. Now, it's no secret that sitting is bad for you, we've been told this, but do you know exactly just how severe the effects can be? It's not that sitting is just bad for your health, it can actually be very deadly. Also, if you exercise regularly thinking that will counter the effects of sitting all day, think again. Studies are starting to show that even those who exercise are still at risk for developing health issues from sitting too long.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of 5 damaging conditions & diseases prolonged sitters are at risk for developing. Also included are ways you can prevent these issues. We encourage you to read through and commit to making some changes to your current sitting habits. You may help add extra years to your life!
- Heart Disease: When you sit for long periods of time, your blood flows slower and your muscles aren't able to burn as much fat. This can cause fatty acids to build up and clog your heart easier. Studies have also shown that sitting too long can increase your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
- Disc Damage: Prolonged sitting wreaks havoc on your spine and posture. The more time you spend sitting, the more pressure builds up on your spine. The intense pressure compresses your discs and can cause them to lose their flexibility. This can increase your chances of herniated discs and cause uncomfortable back pain. Also, not only does sitting damage your discs, but your neck and shoulders can become severely strained and sore as well.
- Brain Damage: Your brain doesn't work as fast when you remain stationary and sedentary. When you aren't moving, your muscles aren't able to pump as much fresh blood and oxygen to the brain. This can restrict the release of brain and mood enhancing chemicals.
- Cancer: Some studies have linked excess sitting to several kinds of cancer such as lung cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer, and endometrial cancers. In a study by the American Cancer Society, they found that these chances were increased for women. The study showed that women who sat for an average of 6 hours or more each day have a 10% greater risk of developing cancer than women who sit for 3 hours of less.
- Weight Gain: When you are active and moving frequently, your body produces an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase (LPL), which helps burn fat. However, when you remain inactive for long periods of time, this enzyme can be restricted from being released.
What Can You do to Prevent these Issues?
Repair the Physical Damage: Consistent chiropractic adjustments can help restore function and alignment to your spine. Adjustments also help alleviate pain and tension in the body that gets built up from sitting too long.
Take Daily Breaks from Sitting: Set a daily alarm for yourself to take breaks from sitting throughout your day. Here are some examples of activities you can do to break up your day of sitting:
- Yoga Poses
- Downward Facing Dog - This pose is excellent for stretching, lengthening, and strengthening the body. To come into downward facing dog, simply place your hands in front of you, lift your hips, and form an inverted V shape. This helps relax the neck, release tension in your shoulders and back, stretch your legs, and increase the blood flow to the brain.
- Cat - Cow Stretch - Cat-cow stretches and opens up your back and spine. The movement also helps your neck return to it's natural position, which should be over your spine and not forward. To move into this position, start with your hands and knees on the floor in tabletop. Inhale, arch your back and lift your chest to come into the cow pose. On the exhale, curve your spine upwards into the cat position.
- Forward Fold - Forward folds are incredibly beneficial for relieving stress in the body. To get into a forward fold, place your feet hip's distance apart, then slowly bend forward from your hips to come into a forward bend. You can bend your knees slightly, which will help release tension from your lower back. This is especially great if you find yourself experiencing anxiety and stress during your work day because the bend provides a relaxing feeling of release.
- Walking: Whether you take a break to walk around your office, house, or outside, any kind of walking movement is better than remaining stationary. We recommend you take your breaks every hour and move for at least 5-10minutes.
Improve Your Workspace: Instead of being stuck at a seated desk all day, look into investing in a standing desk. The cool thing about standing desks is there are a variety of different kinds you can purchase for various prices. Some come in pieces that you can actually place on top of your desk when you want to stand, or you can buy a full desk that is completely designed for standing.
Do you find yourself in pain after sitting at a desk all day or after a long commute? If so, give us a call at our main line, 615-915-1255, to receive a Free Consultation. With the consultation, you'll be able to talk with our chiropractors to see how we can help you repair damage that has been inflicted on your spine from sitting too long.