Do you have a long commute to work, just to then sit all day at your desk?
Do you enjoy relaxing over this long weekend in your favorite recliner?
Sitting may be a necessary part of our lives – in fact I have about a 40 minute drive each way to work every day. So we must find ways to combat this lifestyle of sitting, because it’s wrecking our health.
Why is sitting so bad for us?
Here are the 5 reasons Sitting is Killing You . . .
Form and Function Follow Suit
The human body and mind are malleable with wonderful powers of adaptation.
Want to get stronger? Expose your body to some manageable resistance and it will grow strong. Want to be a smarter or better person? Read some books, write your thoughts, reflect on your weaknesses and you will find a path for growth. Your body and mind can adapt over time.
Unfortunately, the inverse is also true. Never in history has a society had more prosperity and leisure time than we do. Technology has allowed us to master our environment. This growth has also caused us to form some bad habits.
Lying around seeking diversion for our minds does nothing to fulfill our potential as individuals. With inactivity your muscles lose mass, strength, coordination. Your bones become weak. The body adapts to whatever you are choosing to do with it. If a couch or chair is always supporting your spine, it will lose the ability to support itself. You are what you do.
2. Being Sedentary is Poison for Your Body
The American heart association has long promoted 30 minutes of aerobic exercise 3-4 times per week as a preventative measure against heart disease. Recent research has refuted this claim for people who have sedentary jobs.
Sitting for 6-8 hours a day can negate the health benefits connected with regular cardiovascular exercise. Sitting for extended periods of time has been linked with higher risk for development of type 2 diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease and dementia.
This means that if you have a sedentary job, you need to exercise much more to stave off the negative effects. Also, those who stand can burn up to 30% more calories which can really add up over time and help prevent weight gain.
3. Inactivity Will Effect Your Mind
The physical side effects of being sedentary are bad enough. However, there is also strong evidence that inactivity can degrade your mental health. Sedentary lifestyles are associated with higher levels of depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and suicidal ideation.
Our nervous systems are wired to interact with our environment, create order out of chaos and interact with other people. Research has shown that as little as 2-3 hours of screen time on a device per day decreases mental health status of adolescents.
Conversely, those who exercise regularly enjoy elevated mood, increased self-esteem, improved cognitive function and decreased stress.
4. Being Sedentary Can Increase Your Susceptibility to Musculoskeletal Injury.
As a physical therapist, this is a big one. There are a myriad of negative muscle, joint and nerve issues that can be derived from sitting too much. The big problems center on spine issues.
When the human body is allowed to sit for prolonged periods the body becomes lazy. Stabilizing muscles turn off, hip and knee joints get stiff, the spine curves forward and cannot straighten up. The body literally loses its ability to hold you up against gravity. This is bad news for your spine.
With the dawn of the tech age and increased use of electronic devices and addicting games there has been a dramatic increase in spine pain. The prevalence of low back pain more than doubled between 1992 and 2006. Currently 84% of adults will experience severe back pain in their life.
Sedentary behavior is significantly associated with increased incidence of spine pain. Conversely, exercise has been shown to be a protective factor.
5. Movement is life. Don’t rush to the grave.
Your body can do amazing and wonderful things. Moving is essential to life in many ways. Your physical, mental and emotional health all benefit from activity. More and more research is revealing that being sedentary kills you.
Think about the basics. We are complicated multi celled organisms. Our ability to move is a staple of life. It allows us to get away from danger, acquire food and reproduce.
If it weren’t for our technology, avoiding moving for most of the day would kill us quickly. Now life is different and we need to develop a new mindset regarding our use of technology and leisure time. Our bodies need to move just as our hearts need to beat and lungs need to breath.
If you are trying to make positive changes in your life, it helps to have some accountability. At Peak Potential we help our clients achieve health and vitality through physical therapy, wellness coaching and personal training.
If back trouble has you stuck in the recliner each day after work, we want to help. We specialize in treating spine pain and guide our clients to optimum health with non invasive treatments.
Want to know if we could help you reach YOUR goals? Click the link below to request a Free Phone Consultation with a Doctor of Physical Therapy. It’s the best way to find out if we have a solution to the problem that’s be keeping you from being as active as you desire (and deserve)!
Written By Matthew Kahre DPT, ATC, COMT, CSCS