Why is sitting bad for you?
I have patients on a daily basis that come in and tell me all they do all day is sit but yet they are in pain!!! Why Why Why? Ironic is it not some thing that seems to be very restful is actually bad for us? Let me break it down for you, we are HUMAN Beings we are meant to walk and run upright and move. No other animal can do that as well as we can. In today’s world all we do is sit ( at least here in the USA and most westernized countries). We sit in our cars and drive to work then we get out and sit in an office chair for a few hours at a time, then we go home and sit and watch tv or sit and work on our laptops. You see where I am going with this don’t you.
Just the mechanics of sitting in your office chair typing or being on the phone is bad. Why you ask? Well lets start at the top with our heads perched above our necks. The Average human head weighs 10-14 pounds ( according to the kid from the movie Jerry Maguire) but when we sit with our heads jutting forward in a slouched position then the weight becomes 22 and up to 42.5 pounds. Can you imagine holding a 22 or 42 pound bowling ball in your hands against your chest and then moving it further and further away from your chest? I don’t know about you but I personally would not be able to hold it for long. Now picture all that weight pulling on your back and neck muscles and once they fatigue and cant hold any more pulling on a day to day basis on your spine and ligaments and discs that hold the spinal segments together.
Now what I see as a chiropractor from sitting is increased headaches, neck pain upper back pain, numbness and tingling in the arms/hands, lower back pain and sciatica and numbness and tingling in the legs and feet. So what do you think is the solution? Not going to the gym and trying your best to act like a super athlete, but simply taking breaks from sitting as often as possible, while at work and at home. I tell my patients to get up and walk every 30 minutes or so all day long. Just for fun I have added some other research I found about this issue.
Researchers have linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health issues including obesity and metabolic syndrome – a cluster of conditions that includes increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels.
A nearly 50 percent increased risk of death from any cause. About a 125 percent increased risk of events associated with cardiovascular disease, such as chest pain (angina) or heart attack.
Here are some other useful tips:
- Walk laps with your colleagues rather than gathering in a conference room for meetings or at lunch and break times.
- Position your work surface above a treadmill – with a computer screen and keyboard on a stand or a specialized treadmill – ready vertical desk – so that you can be in motion throughout the day. If you cant do this then walk to get water or bathroom or copy machine or just around the office.
The impact of movement – even leisurely movement – can be profound. For starters, you’ll burn more calories. This might lead to weight loss and increased energy. Even better, the muscle activity needed for standing and other movement seems to trigger important processes related to the breakdown of fats and sugars within the body. When you sit, these processes stall – and your health risks increase. When you’re standing or actively moving, you kick the processes back into action.
When you do have those knots in your neck and back or worse headaches and numbness and tingling come on in for a massage or chiropractic adjustment or acupuncture to relieve the tension off of your muscles and spine and increase blood flow to repair and restore them.