While we are all aware that movement and exercise are an important part of good health, most of us have little inkling on how truly debilitating sitting around can be. As a health care professional, even I learned a few things while researching this article. The habit of sitting around can affect more than lust the obvious. sore back, sore neck, less than optimal lung function and extra pounds creeping up over the years.
Bad Back – sitting too much causes the spine to become stiff. Did you know that a stiff spine can make your shoulder blades less mobile? Your back could be the reason you cant reach the top shelf, or why your shoulders hurt when doing chores. People who sit more are also at a higher risk for herniated disk.
Sore neck – your head slumping forward while sitting can cause more than just aches, pains. and even headaches. This head forward posture can cause a foggy brain and sleepiness, because muscle action helps pump oxygenated blood to the top.
Legs – Muscle action helps circulation in your legs too. Its how blood and lymph returns to the heart. Poor circulation in your legs sets you up for varicose veins (not to mention an enlarged heart because it has to work harder, because you aren’t helping with the muscle action part). Weight bearing (standing) on your legs is a huge factor for strong healthy bones. Soft bones in your legs makes you more likely to break a hip or ankle if you should fall. And by the way, you are more likely to fall if your hips are stiff, which is what happens when you sit most of the time. Core Strength – The position of sitting can actually promote a decrease in core strength. When you sit, your abs get mushy because they aren’t working, and aren’t even extended to their full length. Meanwhile, while slumping forward, you back muscles are getting stretched out. This imbalance pulls your posture into poor alignment causing back pain
Organ Damage – Sitting promotes heart disease in many ways. Prolonged sitting leads to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, weight gain, sluggish circulation. Your risk for cancer is increased if you are a sitter. Your pancreas becomes over productive, producing more and more insulin, which leads to diabetes.
Take a look at the following link which was originally posted in the Washington Post with permission to share. It is an infographic which goes into the information I’ve shared in more detail, and gives credit to the experts interviewed on the subject. If you aren’t motivated to begin a regular exercise program, at least get up out of your chair more often, and go for a short walk or do a few quick exercises shown on the infographic. Finally, if you are a habitual sitter, or are required to sit for your job, and you are having aches and pains. come see us. We can help!
• Kay Narnovich, PTA @ our Holland Office
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