Are You Sitting?
I bet, right now, as you are reading this blog post, you are sitting. Am I right? I am confident when making this bet because according to a 2008 study in the American Journal of Epidemiology the average person in the U.S. spends approximately 7.7 hours sitting per day. Even now, in 2016 (eight years later), not much has changed.
Over the years, studies have been conducted that prove sitting for long periods of time is harmful to the body. The following are a list of facts that pertain to sitting for long periods of time.
Facts Pertaining To Too Much Sitting
- In a 2012 – 2013 study from Preventing Chronic Disease, women who sat 6 hours or more were 2.5 times more likely to be obese.
- Several research studies have now identified significant relationships between prolonged sitting and medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer.
- According to a 2010 study in the American Journal of Epidemiology, women and men who sat greater than 6 hours a day were 94% and 48% more likely to die respectively.
On top of leading to heart disease, obesity and diabetes, sitting for long periods of time also has negative orthopedic effects.
Negative Orthopedic Effects
- Prolonged sitting can lead to increased tightness in a muscle called the psoas, which travels through your abdomen, connecting your lower back and hip. Tightness in this muscle can lead to lower back pain, hip tightness and core weakness.
- A strong relationship has been identified between the onset of osteoporosis (soft bones) and prolonged sitting. Osteoporosis can lead to fractures throughout the body.
- Individuals who spend a good part of their day sitting at a computer can develop a forward head and/or a rounded shoulder posture that can lead to neck pain, shoulder pain and headaches.
What the studies are showing is finally resonating with the American population and a movement is being made to, as Specht PT likes to call it, ‘Stand to Live.’
Stand to Live
Specht’s ‘Stand to Live’ campaign is intended to raise awareness of the effects of sitting for a long period of time, whether you are at work, on the road or watching television. The following are recommendations, made by the experienced and educated staff at Specht Physical Therapy, on how you can battle the effects of sitting:
- Do not allow yourself to sit for greater than 30 minutes at more time. Set a stopwatch at your desk or download a sitting timer on your smartphone to remind you to stand every 30 minutes.
- While watching television, be sure to stand and walk around during commercial breaks.
- Invest in a sit-stand station. Several types of sit-stand stations are available ranging from simple desktop models to fully adjustable workstations. Geekdesk and Varidesk offer several models.
- Keep your psoas muscle (which resides in the body’s pelvic region, connecting the lower back to the upper thigh) loose. Use the stretch below to prevent your psoas muscle from shortening which can lead to lower back pain. Hold the stretch position for 30 seconds. This stretch can be performed throughout your workday in order to break up prolonged sitting tasks.
Think About Your Posture
Hopefully, halfway through reading this blog post, you decided to stand and read instead of sit and read. Next time you are sitting at your work desk or watching television, think about the effect your posture and lack of movement is having on your body.
Share and discuss our ‘Stand to Live’ campaign with your family, friends and co-workers. Let them know that by simply sitting less and standing more, they can change their lives for the better. Let’s start a movement and lengthen lives, one person at a time.