Have a Seat ... or Maybe Not
By Krista Elliott
So if you've been paying any attention to health articles in the last little while, you've probably seen a lot of pieces about the dangers of sitting. The general consensus on sitting seems to be that as far as your health goes, sitting ranks somewhere between playing in traffic and chewing on glass.
But is sitting really as horrible as it's made out to be? And if so, can its effects be reversed?
Sitting: Is it Terrible, Horrible, No Good, or Very Bad?
The problem isn't with sitting, but with the amount of time we spend doing it. With long commutes, a national TV and smartphone habit, and a trend away from physically active jobs to desk-bound ones, we're spending more time seated than ever before.
And the results? They're not pretty. For starters, staying in a seated position for long stretches results in some pretty nasty muscular imbalances, with shortened hip flexors, rounded shoulders, and overall muscular weakness. And muscular imbalances more often than not spell serious trouble for your spine and joints, as they're pulled out of alignment by poorly functioning musculature.
It gets worse: In a meta-analysis of 18 separate studies (and totalling almost 800,000 study participants), it was determined that people who sit for long periods have "a two fold increase in their risk of diabetes, heart disease and death." The most frightening part is that this risk stayed the same even if participants got the recommended amount of daily exercise.
It makes sense when you think about it. If you're spending the vast majority of your waking hours seated, a 45-minute session on the treadmill isn't going to do much to offset that.
So What DOES Offset the Effects of Sitting?
The key to preventing the nasty damage that sitting for long periods can bring is ... not sitting for long periods. Okay, so that sounded a bit sarcastic, but it has validity. Another study showed that just interrupting your sitting time every 20 minutes with two-minute walks can have impressively positive effects on glucose and insulin levels. It may be hard to implement a habit of not sitting still for long periods, especially if engrossed in work, your favorite show, or a game, but it's definitely a habit worth cultivating.
And as for your back? Professional chiropractic care, like the care you recieve at The Joint Chiropractic, can go a long way toward correcting any issues with your spine or other joints that have arisen as a result of sitting. With a properly aligned spine and joints, your entire body can move more efficiently and with less pain, making it easier and more pleasant to get up off your duff and get moving toward a healthier you.