So sitting is bad for us? Really? But we’ve been sitting our whole lives. In school, in the car, during work, at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even doing something as innocent as relaxing while watching tv. Welp, it’s true sitting is not the most ideal position for your body to be in, and it is something that no one has told you I’m guessing up until now. Personally, before I began studying fitness and the body as a whole all I knew was that it wasn’t beneficial for the body simply because of how I have felt after sitting for a long period of time. Whether it was at work or driving in the car for an hour at a time I would feel aches and soreness in the lower portion of my body. It turns out that sitting is much worse for the human body than I had originally thought. It’s not just bad, it’s awful.
WHY IS THAT?
Studies are now showing that sitting for two hours or more at a time can actually increase your risk for diabetes, heart disease, several types of cancer, and many back issues caused by the lack of physical activity and posture. How can that be? Sitting causes diseases? What? Why? How? Sitting can cause diseases because when you are sitting still for too long you are basically becoming completely sedentary for that duration of time. If you sit for longer than you exercise it is almost impossible to reverse the negative effects it can deal you. Aside from the obvious amount of physical inactivity your body is put through while sitting, it’s also being put through muscular and skeletal challenges. When you sit the muscles in your lower body are literally being shut off. Have you ever tried to squeeze or fire up one of your glute muscles while sitting? How about your hamstrings? It’s extremely difficult and for the average human being who doesn’t exercise regularly it’s nearly impossible. So not only are your muscles inactivated while you’re sitting but if your posture is poor (leaning forward too much, head tilted forward in front of your center of gravity, feet not flat on the ground, chest not up, abdomen not activated, and back not straight except for your natural anatomic curve at the bottom near your butt) which is most likely the case, you are at a much higher risk for physical issues and injury. When your posture is slightly off you can have neck aches, backaches, headaches, and both the muscles in your back and glutes can become extremely tampered with and shut off. This can lead to greater danger for your body. Muscular tightness and shortness caused by excessive sitting can result in injury by even bending over improperly and picking up a pencil the wrong way. If you’ve been sitting for eight hours and don’t exercise or stretch, your chance of injuring yourself is miles above what it would have been if you had chosen to do either of the two. There many are facts to back this up and research that will literally scare you out of sitting. Lets put it this way, imagine you are squatting at the parallel level for however many hours you sit each day whether it’s 2,3,4,5, or more. Now imagine you are squatting and your glutes, hamstring, hip flexors, calves, quads, core, and lower back are all basically unusable or not beneficially giving you any support. That’s what it’s like when you are sitting on a chair. So you can imagine how much pressure that applies to your helpless spine. It has zero muscles to essentially help it out and take the pressure of gravity away from it. The muscles become tight from lack of use and weak as a result of neglect. In conclusion you are sitting your muscles to death.
SO WHAT’S THE SOLUTION?
Option one: For every half hour or so that you are sitting you need to try and get up to do a little walking preferably for a minimum of 2-5 minutes. It will restore motion to tight muscles and give them a chance to combat the negative effects that the sitting is presenting you with.
Option 2: Introduce yourself to the stand up desk. If standing is better for you (which it is) and you have the option to do so, I HIGHLY stress you stand. Whether you take an empty cardboard box or two and place it on top of your desk so that your laptop can be chest level or you purchase a stand up desk that raises up on its own you are 100% better off. Having a job job that requires you to sit, might suggest you are better sticking with option 1.
When it comes down to it there is a substantial amount of evidence proving sitting does the body a disservice, meaning you should do whatever you can to limit how often and for how long you sit. Being active for longer than you are inactive will always be the answer to this problem. Always try your absolute best to sit no longer than two hours. So get off your butt, and do something good for your body. You will thank me later.