The saying, “Sitting is the new smoking” should come as no surprise with most of us spending over a 1/3 of our days seated. We’re living in a sedentary world and our bodies aren’t designed to be seated all day every day. This will eventually lead to altered mechanics and muscle imbalances within the body and even other health concerns.
Researchers from University of Queensland managed to very accurately demonstrate that the more time we spend standing rather than sitting could improve your blood sugar, fats in the blood and cholesterol levels. This study was published in the European Heart Journal and illustrates that replacing time spent sitting with time walking could have additional benefits for your waistline and body mass index (BMI). It went on to suggest that if we spent an extra two hours per day standing rather than sitting, there was approximately a 2% lower average fasting blood sugar levels, 11% lower average triglycerides (fats in the blood). There was also an 11% lower average BMI and a 7.5cm smaller average waist circumference from just substituting 2 hours of sitting with stepping.
This would surely raise the question why more businesses don’t implement ‘walk and talk’ meetings. It’s interesting to note that within five days of changing to a sedentary lifestyle, your body increases plasma triglycerides, LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), and insulin resistance. This means your muscles aren’t taking in fats and your blood sugar levels go up. This puts you at risk for weight gain. As people spend hours sitting down every day, they will often develop poor posture, which affects their health and well-being. When working on a computer, people tend to slump forwards and round their shoulders forward, increasing stress on the neck and upper back.
Furthermore, if you are sitting for too long, your hip flexor muscles will actually shorten. This causes the muscles to stiffen up, causing you to not be able to stand up straight. This poor posture leads to an anterior pelvic tilt, which can create issues such as hip impingements and hamstring strains.
Here is a list of issues and health concerns that the sedentary posture can have on your body:
- Low back and neck pain
- Weight gain
- Can decrease your lung expansion by 10-15%, making breathing more difficult
- Extra stress on you intervertebral disc
- Early degeneration in your spinal joints
One option that might be able to help with our sitting problem is a standing desk. It would be recommended to try and alternate from a sitting and standing posture to start with, so your body can get use to it. You should also try walking around the office when using your phone or if you are stuck at the desk, trying setting an alarm for every 30-45 minutes and having a micro-break to stretch.
Irrespective of the tactics you use, the take home message is: get up and move more often. It’s easy to get caught up in work or watching TV and find yourself sitting in the same position for hours. Doing so presents a list of health concerns. Yet, with a small amount of awareness and some minor changes, you can start feeling the benefits of a healthier lifestyle.
Please call your Chiropractor at AHS on 9948 2826 or visit our clinic at 9/470 Sydney Rd in Balgowlah servicing the surrounding suburbs of Allambie, Balgowlah Heights, Seaforth, Fairlight and Manly on the Northern Beaches.
Replacing sitting by standing or stepping: associations with cardio-metabolic risk biomarkers.
European Heart Journal