As many doctors will tell you, we live in a sedentary world. That is just a fact of the times. Many of us have a rather long commute to work, then we sit in front of a computer for at least eight hours each day at our job, then we commute home. By that time, we’re too tired to do much, so we may sit until it’s time to go to bed. Our kids are spending up to 10 hours each day in school and many no longer have the luxury of recess or gym class anymore. When they get home, they are busy doing homework, watching mindless TV or playing video games all evening. As a whole, our society does not get near the amount of exercise our bodies need to remain healthy. Of course, most of us know that we are sitting way too much every day, but how many of us really stop to think about what our sedentary lifestyle is doing to us?
Here are four reasons sitting too much can wreak havoc on your health and some tips from Dr. Jordan for easy ways to get more exercise into your daily routine.
1. Weight Gain
Most of us already know that if we sit too much, we gain weight. But that visibly growing waistline is doing more than just making you feel less attractive when you look in the mirror.
Extra weight can lead to:
Lower metabolism (making it much harder to lose the weight than it was to gain it)
Greater risk of heart disease
Higher risk of diabetes
Added stress on joints, bones, etc. causing more aches and pains
Premature death (Yes, really, sorry!)
Obviously, these are just a few of the side effects caused by gaining weight, but they are some of the most common side effects.
2. Back Pain
Studies show that as many as eight out of 10 people suffer from back pain. We put a lot of stress on our backs each and every day, so it is important to keep yours in healthy working order with regular chiropractic adjustments. If we do nothing but sit all day long, we aren’t working our back muscles or our core muscles to keep our bodies in tip top working order. Sitting too much can eventually lead to our back muscles deteriorating, which can cause back pain. And, of course, carrying too much weight around can add to the pain and lead to little back pain relief, even when sitting, lying or standing in different positions.
3. Bad Posture
When people find themselves sitting at an office desk all day, every day, they oftentimes develop poor posture. When working on a computer, people have the tendency to round their shoulders forward, which can lead to a strained neck and upper back. If you have ever had a back ache or shoulder and neck pain because you sat slouched forward for too long, you know how hard it can be to get a little back pain relief. One suggestion to add to your regular adjustment would be to add in a dry needling session a few times a month to aid in muscle relief, but a better solution is to sit correctly to avoid the back pain altogether.
4. Hip Imbalance
Interestingly, if you sit too long, your body will adapt to that and your hip flexor muscles can actually begin to shorten. This will cause the muscles to tighten to the point that they won’t stretch the way they should, causing you to not be able to stand up as straight as you should.
Another way that sitting too much can cause a hip imbalance is by frequently crossing your legs. This can affect the solidity of the lower body and can actually impact the ability to exercise.
Taking Steps to Correct Your Actions
So, what should you do if you find yourself sitting too much? Well, the most important way to combat the issues that are caused by sitting is to find ways to move. While that may not be feasible all the time, there are a few tips that can keep you off your gluteus maximus as much as possible throughout your day to keep you healthy and give you back pain relief from being in a sitting position for too long.
Stand at your computer rather than sitting
Take frequent breaks from sitting by setting a timer every 45 min to an hour and take a little walk to stand and stretch.
Walk around while on the phone
Take the stairs, rather than an elevator
Park further away from the door to increase the amount of steps you take in a day
If your kids are in a video game habit, get a Wii rather than an Xbox
Stand up and march in place for 5 minutes each half hour or so
Want more health tips from Dr. Jordan? Follow Art of Life Chiropractic on Facebook! And you can always find more information on our office and what services we offer by visiting other pages on our website.