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Caution: Sitting for Long Periods Can Be Hazardous

By Stephen R. Farris

Is sitting a disease? It can be if you do it for long periods of time, for instance, several hours without getting up and moving around. Some people may sit for hours on end, especially on the weekends binge-watching television shows or movies. They get up long enough to grab a drink or snack, or go to the restroom. Other people are at jobs that require sitting for long periods, 8- to 12-hour shifts.

The effect of sitting for long periods can eventually cause problems with your neck, shoulders, upper and lower back, glutes, thighs and hamstrings. In other words, it's not good to sit that long without at least taking a few breaks to stretch your muscles.

What Happens If I Sit Too Long?

You know how you feel when you first get up and head to work? You're awake, feeling energized and ready to tackle any project the boss throws at you. Well, if you're sitting too long, by the end of the day all of that energy and enthusiasm is pretty much gone. Chances are you're feeling aches and pains in your back, neck, and joints. You might even feel some weakness in your muscles, especially in your thighs, hamstrings, and calves. Maybe you start to feel some pain in your knees, because you're not getting enough exercise and more than likely added a few extra pounds.  

Caution: Hazardous Health Conditions Ahead

According to research, our society has shifted -- in a sense -- to promoting more sitting, whether it's at home or at work. Further studies have shown that prolonged sitting can lead to many hazardous conditions, for instance:

  • Increased risk of heart disease
  • Breast cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Epithelial ovarian cancer
  • Type 2 diabetes

Remedies for Better Health

Probably the best remedy for better health for folks sitting for prolonged periods of time, is to take breaks throughout the day and move around. Try walking for 10 minutes, or doing a few aerobic exercises to get the blood circulating. You might even talk with your boss or the human resources department to see if they could bring in better seating, such as ergonomic office chairs that support your back and spine better. And you should always practice good posture when sitting at your desk or workstation.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Sacramento, Calif.

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