How Too Much Sitting Decreases Mobility
By Sara Butler
Many Americans spend hours a day sitting at a desk or on a couch. No doubt you’ve heard about the dangers to your health that too much time on your derriere can have, and one of the most important impacts too much sitting has is on your mobility. Sitting too much can lead to muscle degeneration, which in turn leads to decreased mobility – and that can be the start of many a problem. Here’s what you need to know about how sitting can negatively impact your mobility.
Sitting every day for hours on end inevitably leads to one thing: The dreaded slump. Poor posture is no joke, and if you’re not sitting up straight at your desk when you’re sitting, it can lead to weak abdominal muscles, and weak abdominal muscles lead to lower back strain and pain. Poor posture may feel better in the moment, but ultimately it leads to something worse – muscle atrophy.
The term atrophy is used to describe degeneration of your muscle fibers. When your muscles aren’t exercised or engaged enough they will eventually atrophy, which is why an active lifestyle is very important.
When you sit for long periods, then the muscle fibers will shrink in size, especially in your hip flexors, which will then shorten and lead to a decreased range of motion through the hip joint. That's a recipe for back pain!
One of the most important tools you have to maintain healthy joints and muscles is flexibility. When you sit for long periods of time, it puts pressure on the back, legs, glutes in the buttocks and hips, which will cause reduced flexibility. The problem with this is when you go through the motions of your everyday life, such as walking from place to place, it becomes difficult and muscle imbalances may occur that will lead to discomfort down the road.
Sitting for a long time also compresses the discs in your back unevenly, which can cause the ligament and tendons in your back to become inflexible. This doesn’t allow your spine to function as it should with its full range of motion and can lead to problems with the discs in your back, which can be very painful.
If you sit for long periods, you really need to get your body moving at least once an hour. Get up and take a stroll to the restroom or go get a glass of water in the kitchen. Do a few stretches and try to get your blood flowing again. If you need more help, talk to your chiropractor!