Like most working Americans, you probably sit at work all day. Additionally, you spend time in the car sitting during your commute. And what do you want to do when you get home?....You guessed it, sit on the couch and relax. We Americans can easily waste over 13 hours a day sitting down.
A recent Australian study found that people who reported sitting for at least 11 hours a day had a 40 percent higher risk of dying within the next three years than people who sat for four hours a day. Previous studies also suggest that a sedentary lifestyle can be linked to heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. The condition of prolonged sitting and its effects on the human body, physiologically and metabolically, has become known as the “sitting disease.”
This relatively newly coined "Sitting disease" is a description of a sedentary lifestyle that the medical community has associated with an increase in cardiovascular health with inactivity, particularly sitting for prolonged periods of time. In addition to the cardiovascular implications, the sedentary lifestyle predisposes patients to neck and back pain due to atrophy or underdevelopment of the core and gluteal muscles. Prolonged sitting with poor posture can actually compress the discs and promote early degenerative changes in the spine.
How do you avoid developing this "disease"?
Get Up! I encourage my patients to get out of their chairs once an hour. Get up to an get a drink of water, or just walk down the hallway and back..
Create Instability. If you don’t think you will remember to get up or just have too much to get done at your desk to spare a 2 minute break, ergonomic friendly items like standing desks and stability chairs can help out by automatically engaging muscles while seated. Unlike a hard seat, sitting on yoga or stability ball provides you with just enough instability to force your legs, core and arms to engage so you don’t wobble while you sit. Anything that helps to engage involuntary muscles will help train your postural muscles to activate, and will in turn improve your posture.
Three Simple Exercises. You can do these at home or work. Check out this video to see me demonstrate just how easy they are: