Sitting – It’s Hazardous to Your Health
Have you ever thought about how much you sit each day?
Typically, it can be more than you sleep. While sleep helps your body to recover, repair and replenish, too much sitting only plays havoc with your body. Studies have shown that life expectancy is decreased, there is a high risk of heart disease and/or Type 2 diabetes, your brain function and metabolism slows and your muscles and joints become less supportive and therefore can cause you nothing but discomfort and/or pain. Your body was really built to stand, bend and move and your heart and cardiovascular system works best in an upright position as does your digestive system.
We know it’s hard to believe that something so seemingly innocent as sitting could be so harmful. Reality is that many of us don’t have a choice about the amount of time we sit at a desk and/or in a car. However, there are some things you do have control over.
• Stretch/Movement Breaks are a MUST every 15 to 20 minutes if you sit at a desk, work at a computer or watch TV. Stand up stretch and walk. It is not only good for your body but it can boost your brain power by triggering areas of your brain that help you learn, memorize, concentrate and problem solve.
• Be mindful of your sitting posture. Sitting places greater pressure on your spine than standing or walking. Even when you sit upright, the weight of your upper body exerts around 50 percent more pressure on your lower spine than when standing. If you sit slouched over, the pressure on your spine rises to 150 percent greater than when standing.
One of our favourite new products to help us with sitting is a BackJoy®. This unique technology encourages your pelvis to be upright and prevents muscles from flattening under your body weight. Thus helping to reduce or eliminate back discomfort or pain. You can use BackJoy® on office chairs and on soft, cushioned seats at home as well as when you travel by car, air, train or bus. For more information, please visit our website – bodybreak.com.
While at your desk/computer, check your posture:
Eyes – Make sure that the computer screen is positioned so that your eyes are level with the top of the screen.
Body – Do not slouch. Keep your pelvis tucked in and make sure that your lower back is fully supported by your chair. Position the monitor and keyboard so that you don’t need to twist your hips or neck.
Arms and Wrists – Have your work surface just lower than your bent elbows. Your wrists should be level with your hands while typing. Use a wrist pad if necessary.
Legs and Feet – Set the seat height so that your legs are bent at right angles and your feet are flat on the floor or on a foot rest. Your legs should fit underneath the work surface so that you don’t have to lean forward.
• Try standing whenever you have the chance. You might find a standing desk or a high table/counter works better for you. Also stand and/or move while talking on the phone, waiting for an appointment or watching your child’s sporting events.
• If you spend any time driving your car, bring your seat forward enough so that you are not stretching to reach the pedals, your arms are comfortably bent and your back is fairly straight. If you’re planning a trip out of town, also plan for stops along the way so you can get out, walk and stretch.
Every little thing you do to sit less and stand and move more will have a positive impact before it’s too late. If you do have any health problems related to excessive sitting or poor posture, please see your doctor or visit MedRehab Physiotherapy so a physiotherapist, chiropractor, acupuncturist or a registered massage therapistcan help you feel better.
Until Next Time, Keep Fit & Have Fun
Hal & Joanne