If you are interested in health, regularly workout in the gym, or maybe teach others how to move optimally in their lives, you have probably came across the catchy slogan of ‘’SITTING IS THE NEW SMOKING.’’
Yes, the big news is out for quite some time: your plushy chair is designed to destroy you. Especially your back.
Last year extensive study published in LA TIMES pointed out that for every straight hour of TV we watch; we proportionally cut our lifespan by about 22 minutes.In comparison, for every one cigarette people smoke they shorten their lives by about 11 minutes. So if you are ‘’seated smoker’’, your health is under serious threat.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU SIT?
As humans nowadays, we sit more than ever. Think about all the office chairs, car seats, plane seats, waiting areas in doctor surgeries, banks, crèches, dinner tables and toilettes…and the list; of course; goes on and on. No wonder our hips are tight & stringy, our backs are more prone to injuries and we are losing our ability to maintain good posture.
When we sit for long periods of time, which many people do- especially if their job is deskbound, we are creating a serious damage to our health.
Marc T.Hamilton from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center of Baton Rouge, La explains:
“As soon as we sit, the electrical activity in our leg muscles stops, impacting a variety of metabolic pathways influencing heart disease and diabetes. For example, an enzyme that acts like the vacuum cleaner for blood fat is shut off, leading to other effects on cholesterol metabolism.”
On an average, we sit about 12-14 hours a day, which is even more than the actual time we spend lying in the bed & sleeping (and getting some well needed rest).
Number of studies have clearly shown that prolonged sitting leads to heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer and serious back problems.
In addition, the serious consequences of prolonged sitting simply CAN NOT BE UNDONE from your tissues just by hopping on treadmill or going to a yoga class. Even if you are very diligent with your exercise programme, and dedicate half an hour every day to your workouts, your body will still adopt to the position you perform the most: THE SITTING.
WHEN YOU ‘’HAVE TO SIT’’, SIT WITH INTEGRITY
No matter how vigilant you will start to be about integrating more movement into your life, there will still be time when you have to sit. While you travel, drive a car or going through turbulence on a plane ride, your body simply does not have any other option rather than sit.
When you are forced to sit, make sure that you make it your priority to sit in the most organized way- therefore managing the health of your spine, breathing mechanism and even optimizing your digestive envirovement.
- Un-tuck your pelvis
- Sit on top of your sitting bones
- Organize your ribcage over your pelvis
- Center your brain over your heart
- Take couple of deep breaths
DO NOT STAND – MOVE!
Many people, in desperate need to fix the ‘’issues in their tissues’’; are turning to standing desks nowadays. And while we definitely need to implement more standing options into our movement repertoire, just substituting sitting with straight 8 hours of standing is not a healthy option –long hours of standing were the precise reason we have invented chairs in a first place!
Instead of loading your lower legs and creating compression in your lower back by long bouts of standing, opt for integrating more movement into your office life. Read more about investing more movement options into your life HERE.
You can always look out for those water or coffee breaks throughout the day, the dishes that need to be put away to kitchenette, and the customer that requires your help or few simple desk stretches might be missing link towards longer and healthier life.
Think about creating any type of brief, yet frequent, whole-body movement throughout the day that are vital to cut off unhealthy molecular signals causing various metabolic diseases.
Your spinal health, delicate heart and your waistline will be very grateful.