The physical implications of sitting at your desk all day for most of your life is not something to take lightly.
The myriad of consequences on your body from sitting for long periods is now said to be worse than smoking. Dr. James Levine says sitting for as little as 2 continuous hours increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, back pain and other orthopaedic problems.
Find this hard to believe?
why is sitting so bad?
Our bodies were made to move. By sitting for long periods we are deconditioning our bodies.
Our joints become stiff, our muscles tighten and get weak and our energy levels plummet and that’s just in a nutshell.
We are compromising the musculature designed to stabilize our spine.
When we sit down, our lower body basically switches off. This is a problem because our gluteal muscles are major hip stabilizers and with these guys out of action, we lose connection between the hips and legs.
This in turn leaves your trunk to stabilize the spine, which can be fine if we were sitting for a couple of minutes at a time.
Unfortunately though, this is not the case for most.
After long periods, our muscles get tired and relax and we start to adopt sitting positions that are detrimental to our body’s health.
what can go wrong?
The most common dysfunction is a rounded spine, which consequently has numerous implications in itself. The rounding of shoulders, the chin poking forward, the c-shape bend in the spine, compromised breathing, muscle degeneration from the posterior tilt in the pelvis, carpel tunnel syndrome, tight hip flexors; all these postural adaptations have further consequences. It’s an unfortunate chain of events.
Pain symptoms can be anything from back (upper, mid and lower) pain, neck pain, headaches, nerve pain and the list goes on… scary right?
and the worst part?
Exercising won’t undo the damage. Don’t believe me? Let’s think about it differently for a second. Here is a really great example mentioned by Kelly Starrett in his latest book Deskbound: “We wouldn’t consider someone who consumes fast foods and soft drinks healthy even if that person exercised regularly.
And you wouldn’t consider the person who gets raging drunk seven days a week but musters the strength to go for a run every morning healthy.”
When we sit for long periods we compromise our posture which compromises our mobility.
Let me be clear. This is not a message to say all is hopeless and to stop exercising all together! No no, the exact opposite actually. Move more, more often!
our bodies are smart… too smart!
The amazing thing about our bodies is that they adapt. They adapt to our environmental load.
So if you are sitting for hours and hours with a rounded posture, your muscles/tissues/joints will form to that posture creating those above-mentioned imbalances; this is not so amazing.
The great thing is that we can re-train our bodies.
In fact, it shouldn’t even be about ‘re-training’ so to speak but training our bodies to move.
Move through different planes of motion as opposed to the ones we are used to or the ones we are good at or the ones we are stuck in.