For decades, chiropractors have warned of the ill effects caused by chronic poor posture while sitting. Hunched or slouched sitting posture can cause chronic pain, stress, tension, and headaches. Yet, even if you’ve corrected your sitting habits and practice good posture while sitting, you still could be jeopardizing your health if you are sitting for prolonged periods of time.
Let’s face it, over the years technology has changed the workplace and our lifestyles. Senior adults can remember the days of walking or biking to school, doing household chores by hand, and playing outdoors. Technology has added personal computers, video games, remotes, and appliances and gadgets that make our household chores and daily living activities much easier. The bad side of these technological advances is that we have become more sedentary.
Many jobs now require people to spend long hours at a desk or a computer. Prolonged sitting, even if you exercise daily, can be harmful to your health. Chiropractors stress this point-even if you exercise daily-that sitting for prolonged periods of time may increase your risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and even cancer. Studies suggest that prolonged sitting can affect the elasticity of your blood vessels, change your metabolism and how your body processes fats and sugars, and produce inflammation in the body. All of these processes can lead to a myriad of health risks, ultimately reducing the quality of your life and shortening your life span.
What is your average daily sitting time?Are you at risk of the potential hazards of prolonged sitting? Answer the following questions for yourself. How long is your driving commute to work? How much time do you spend sitting at your desk or computer during the average work day? How much time do you spend in the evening at home on the couch watching television or on your personal computer or electronic devices? Unless you have a very active job, your answer to the questions above, like most Americans, likely totaled an average of eight to ten hours a day. In all likelihood, you probably sleep less than you sit.
How do you reduce your risks? Chiropractors recommend taking regular breaks from sitting throughout the day to stand and stretch. If possible, leave your desk for a few minutes every hour to walk around the office. Use that time to deliver a message or information in person to a co-worker as opposed to sending an email. If you are restricted as to how often you can leave your desk, take a few minutes every hour to at least stand at your desk. If you get a phone call that will take a few minutes, take it standing instead of sitting. Place a sticky note on your computer or set an alarm or a task notice to alert you every hour or two to get out of your seat. If you work at home, you have even more flexibility so take advantage of it. You might consider replacing your office chair with an exercise ball. This is called active sitting and requires more energy. Be creative and look for ways to reduce the number of hours you spend sitting every day. In no time at all you will begin to feel the difference in your health as will your happy chiropractor.