Is sitting bad?
As a chiropractor in Greenwood Village, I feel like it’s my duty to help our community understand the nasty effects of sitting.
By now, you’ve probably seen the headlines. Or, heard people like me talk about it.
The short answer is, yes. It’s as bad as you’ve been told.
Sitting for long periods of time is shown to be as bad as smoking in terms of life expectancy. It’s also linked to over 30-different chronic diseases, including a 147% increase in heart disease.
Do I have your attention yet?
How much sitting is too much?
Which begs the question…how many people actually do that?
The unfortunate truth is n0t a lot.
According to research out of Brazil, Americans sit on average 13-hours per day.
While this may boggle the mind, take a second and think about it.
You go to work and sit in front of your computer for 6-9 hours. You also go to lunch and sit while you eat. After eating, you head back to work and sit some more.
Once the workday is over, you go home and eat dinner while sitting at a table.
Finally, you retire to your favorite chair or couch to “get work done” and watch TV.
Even if you’re not at 13-hours, chances are likely you’re sitting at least 8-10.
How many hours should you be sitting?
According to the same researchers in Brazil, it’s important to limit sitting to less than 3-hours per day. Because anything over 3-hours shows a significant decrease in lifespan.
Now, obviously that’s not always easy. But what’s the alternative?
Are stand up desks better?
The new sexy solution are sit-to-stand desks.
They reduce time spent sitting, and allow the person to stand instead.
Here’s the thing…
Whether your sitting or standing, you’re still not moving.
THAT’S THE PROBLEM.
Our bodies are built to move, not to stay in one place for an extended period of time.
And yes, studies show back pain while working may improve somewhat if a person uses a sit-to-stand desk. But that’s far from stating back pain will be eliminated. Or, the reason for the back pain will be corrected.
Standing in place is almost as bad as sitting in place. And can lead to pain as well.
What’s the answer?
It’s safe to say a sit-to-stand desk is not the answer. It’s better than sitting all day. But it still has roots in the problem.
The answer is to move. Everyday. And for much longer than you’ve become accustomed to. For every hour of sitting or standing in place, a person needs to get 5-minutes of movement.
How can you do that?
Every 20-30 minutes take a break from your work.
- Walk around.
- Get a drink.
- Go chat with your neighbor.
Movement is a requirement for good health in the body. In fact, 90% of your brain’s nutrition and energy comes from movement of the spine.
Not only does movement help your brain work better, it also reduces pain levels in the body.
So, if you take anything from this article, take this…
Don’t sit as much, stop standing in place, and MOVE.