Have you ever thought about just how much time you spend in your day sitting? I’m hoping I can share with you some thoughts about how this affects your health, and what you can do to change it. Change is hard, and changing your daily habits is even harder. The most important thing you can do for yourself is really define WHY you want to make some changes.
Your WHY is yours and only yours. Maybe you want to deal with some chronic pain? What would lessening your pain look like in your life? Or maybe you want to be stronger and have more energy so you can really be active with your kids? Imagine that life you are looking for and keep those reasons front and center when considering some suggestions I have for you to get out of that chair.
I’m sure it wouldn’t surprise you to know that the more time you spend sitting, the less healthy you become. Sounds rather obvious, but there are is very specific evidence that supports how unhealthy this habit truly is.
Studies have shown that people who sit 6+ hours a day are 40% more likely to die within 15 years than those that sit 3 hours or less a day. It is probably not surprising that obese people sit 2.5 hours more than others. At 60-90 minutes of prolonged sitting, the enzyme lipoprotein lipase shuts off. This protein is used to metabolize fats and sugars in your blood stream. The fat and sugars stay in the blood stream. The fats add on the pounds and the sugar makes you diabetic. People who have sitting jobs are twice as likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease than those that have jobs on their feet.
A sedentary job isn’t the only culprit of constant sitting. Once home, how much time do you spend in front of the television? Every hour of sitting and watching tv increases risks to your health. "Prolonged sitting has been shown to disrupt metabolic function resulting in increased plasma triglyceride levels, decreased levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and decreased insulin sensitivity," according to Dr. Hidde van der Ploeg, University of Sydney’s School of Public Health in Australia.
Before you run out and buy that “standing desk” or remove the couch from your living room...standing all day and night is not the answer, either. Prolonged standing can lead to the development of musculoskeletal disorders and varicose veins, especially in the legs, knees and lower back. While you can stand for as long as it feels comfortable, most experts recommend a 50:50 sit-stand ratio. There are simple solutions to attaining this kind of balance
One way to easily add a bit of activity to an otherwise sedentary day is to move meetings from the conference room to the concourse. Walking not only burns calories, but it will help you get outside for a dose of vitamin D and a different environment. Don’t forget to stand and stretch, consider some office yoga or taking a walk when you have to take a call on your mobile phone. Take the stairs to the next floor and skip the elevator. When you must sit, consider your sitting position. First, make sure your wrists and forearms are in a straight line, parallel to the floor with your head and torso should be in a line. Don’t lean your head forward. Shoulders should be at ease with elbows bent 90-110 degrees. Try keeping your knees slightly lower than your hips. Keep your feet planted on the floor.
As a chiropractor, I see the effects that prolonged sitting has on my patients, and it is a common cause of pain for many. While in a seated position, the normal curves of the spine are reduced. Pressure within the discs can triple! This will lead to progressive spinal degeneration. Important to know… once you lose it…it ain’t comin’ back. There are three phases of spinal degeneration. The first is where you start to lose curve, the spaces between your discs narrow, and bending is impaired. If this is ignored, phase two includes roughening of the joint surfaces, bone spurs, and even more reduced mobility. When completely neglected, phase three becomes complete bone remodeling, irreversible joint fusion, and permanent loss of motion.
Chiropractic care can help slow down spinal degeneration. It can help eliminate neck and back pain, and slow down the effects of prolonged sitting. Keeping the spine in proper alignment helps improve your immune system, auditory nerves, fatigue and energy, organ and gland function and more. Your overall health and wellness can be immediately affected by chiropractic care.
What would you do for yourself if you knew you would not fail? Most of us think we can solve a great deal of our health challenges by changing our diets and changing our habits. That is true! We can. Add a chiropractor to this recipe and you will find your health and wellness functioning at optimum capacity. I’d love the privilege to share with you more of how I can help you achieve days full of energy, health, and free of physical pain. Call me for a free consultation to find out what I can do for you.
Dr. Peter Sutton DC
Abundant Health Chiropractic