If we keep sitting like we are we will find our way to an early grave

How nice is it to curl up on the on the couch after a long day and just veg out like a potato for hours on  end? Well, you may be doing more to your body than just relaxing, especially if this happens on a regular basis. Sitting pain can also be an uncomfortable side-effect.

Sitting for long periods of time is often associated with back pain and stiffness, yet, there is an increase in sedentary based jobs, often involving the majority of the day seated in front of a computer or workstation. Adding on to this is the times spent outside of work sitting, including “screen” time and driving. 

Many studies have shown that static sitting posture leads to an increase in pressure on the discs in the spine, muscle wastage and imbalances and changes within the joints. The following factors appear to be significant risk factors in the development of back pain: age, driving and sitting, even for as little as four hours at a time.

Sitting creates spine pressure and muscle tension which can cause problems

When your body is moving around, all you muscles are working together to both move the body and maintain limb positions and balance. When you are sitting, these muscles are no longer needed and “switch” off, therefore, they are no longer supporting the spine. In the sitting position, the muscles at the front of your hips become shorter and tighter, which can change the position of your pelvis which can make both sitting and standing painful.

It isn’t just back pain that prolonged sitting or adopting a sedentary life can cause. Physical inactivity is the fourth leading cause of death due to non-communicable disease and leads to 6% of deaths world wide. Mind blowing right? Here are some more statistics:

  • 60% of Australian adults get less than 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity every day
  • Almost 70% of Australian adults can be classed as either sedentary or having low levels of physical activity
  • It causes 21-25% of breast and colon cancers
  • 27% of diabetes cases
  • 30% of ischemic heart disease
  • Is the second highest cause of cancer in Australia.

In fact, being sedentary affects your body in many other ways as well. It can lead to muscle wastage, weight gain, back and neck pain, anxiety and depression and vascular problems. Our body was designed to be active, it makes our heart and cardiovascular system more efficient, helps our bowels and digestive system work more effectively, it increases our overall energy levels and helps maintain bone strength.

Balance sitting and healthy activity with Strive Physio to feel great and move freely

So what can you do about it? Current standards recommend 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity exercise per day on top of day to day activities and work. This also stands for active or manual jobs, however, when you take into account the time spent outside of work sitting around, 30 minutes is not enough.

So what can you do about it? Try a new activity such as yoga, pilates, tai-chi or sports – especially ones which use all the major muscle groups such as swimming or racquet sports. Stand up and move every 15 minutes you are seated at your desk at work. Try sitting on an exercise ball or purchase a sit to stand desk. Engage in an office exercise session once a day. If you have been fairly sedentary for a long time be careful. Many people injure themselves by rushing their return to fitness. Get help from a Strive physiotherapist. We will work with you to make your return to activity enjoyable, appropriate for your goals and ultimately successful.

 

Sit well with Strive Physio. Book an appointment today.

Written by Courtney Hallinan

Physiotherapist

Strive Physio