You've Probably Heard, Sitting is the New Smoking.
Dr Tony Diab, Chiropractor
The Effects of Sitting
The effects of prolonged sitting have indeed been compared to the effects of smoking. The original author of this statement, Dr. James Levine further added “Sitting is more dangerous than smoking and is more treacherous than parachuting…we are literally sitting ourselves to death”.
A little scary right? This may sound like an extraordinary statement but recent research is showing that sitting for as little as 2 hours increases our risk of heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cancer, back and neck pain.
Believe it or not, a typical office worker has more musculoskeletal injuries than many other more physically demanding sectors, including the metal industry, construction and transportation workers.
But don't worry! There are ways to mitigate these negative effects! .
To promote circulation, wake the muscles up and preserve our spine and joint health, we have to practice daily 'spine hygiene'. Humans are mobile beings; our muscles crave activity and when we deprive them they start to complain in the form of aches in the body.
Here, I've put together some quick and easy tips to incorporate more movement into your day and help mitigate the effects of sitting:
1. When you sit, sit well (Embrace your curves)
Our spine has 3 natural curves and is the happiest when those curves are embraced. This is otherwise known as “neutral spine”, this position evenly distributes the weight and helps prevent muscles from tightening up. So, sit in the back of the chair, feet flat on the ground and move your shoulders away from your ears.
2. Move more, sit less (No “napping” on the job)
Every 30 minutes of sitting you have to pay your muscles with 2 minutes of activity. Set a timer on your phone or put a post-it on your desk. Or, you could drink lots of water that way you have to get up whether you like to or not.
3. Movement is medicine
The act of walking requires the communication of over 200 muscles. This physical demand is guaranteed to get your blood flowing. Walking IS a form of medicine, and you don’t need a prescription from your doctor. Schedule walks at lunch, take a call while on the move or walk to your co-worker instead of texting them.
4. What’s the rush?
You will be amazed at the immediate effects of these few tips on your body, mind and productivity. However, patience is crucial here. Think about it, many years of bad “habits” won’t reverse in one day. It’s the repetitive daily “healthy” habits that lead to adaptations and clear the path for a healthy, happy back.
Don’t get comfortable with being uncomfortable, there are solutions out there. Our bodies are incredibly resilient, but the tools needed to fix any problem are right within us, they just need to be used to their potential.
Final Thoughts & Takeaway
If there is anything I'd like you to take away from this it's that small changes can make significant difference in your life, you don't need to live in discomfort!
If you are suffering from pain are ready to take action, get in touch, I'd love to hear from you and help get you back on track to a pain free lifestyle!
Feel free to comment below with any suggestions for future posts and or any questions you might have!
Dr Tony Diab