It’s time you started reducing the time you spend sitting. We are simply not designed to sit, yet many of us are sitting for the majority of our day. Your body is designed to be walking, pushing, pulling, lifting, all at low intensities for long periods, with occasional bursts of higher intensity exercise. Instead, we sit in the car or on the train to work, sit at work, sit for lunch, sit on the way home and then, due to the (mental) fatigue we are feeling we sit again for the rest of the evening watching TV.
Think about the total time you spend sitting. During this time you are literally killing yourself.
First, the musculoskeletal problems. Sitting puts pressure on your back, stretching some ligaments, compressing others and placing pressure on the lumbar discs. If you are sitting at a computer it is likely that your head is held in a forward chin poke position, which is putting pressure on your neck and causing tension in those muscles at the top of your shoulders, which ache at the end of the day.
When you are sitting the activity of your load bearing and posture muscles is reduced, so your metabolic rate drops. You are burning minimal energy (one calorie per hour) and your postural muscles are becoming weaker. Insulin effectiveness drops in a single day of sitting, increasing the likelihood of type II Diabetes, and the levels of ‘good’ cholesterol falls.
What is interesting is that these adverse effects are independent from what you do afterwards, so it makes little difference if you go to the gym afterwards or go home to bed. It is the time spent sitting that is the risk factor and you can’t make up for it after the fact. The only way to reduce these ill effects is to not sit for so long in the first place, and when you must sit, recognise that it is a harmful activity and takes breaks as often as possible.
A recent Australian study indicates that getting up frequently can reduce many of these risk factors. Note you don’t have to be ‘exercising’ per se, you don’t have to run or do push-ups, you just have to get out of your chair and move around. So if you want to reduce your chances of low back pain, neck pain, diabetes and even some cancers take a good hard look at how much sitting you are doing and then…GET UP!
Tip: there are programs you can download that can be set to provide a reminder to get up and move around – some of these are listed below.
With thanks to: