Health Topic Archives

You Should Sit Less. Here's Why!

By Dr. Samuel Ascioti

As a chiropractor, I’m lucky enough to be part of a profession that keeps me on my feet for a
good chunk of the day. Whether performing soft tissue manipulation, helping a patient stretch, or delivering a chiropractic adjustment, I’m able to avoid sitting for at least part of the day.

Others may not be so fortunate. According to a recent survey the average American spends
roughly 13 hours out of the day sitting (5). This is compounded by an average of 8 hours spent sleeping to total a whoppin’ 21 hours of being sedentary (5)! This is bad news for several reasons.

Research has demonstrated that prolonged sitting is associated with a variety of health
concerns, including:

Apparently, the context of the sitting does not matter in how it affects health - prolonged sitting at work is the same as prolonged sitting at home or behind the wheel of a car.

Adults who spent more than four hours a day in front of a TV or computer monitor had a 50% increased risk of death from any cause and roughly 125% increased risk of cardiovascular disease events - think heart attacks and chest pain.

Even scarier - according to the American Heart Association, spending a few hours a week at the gym or in any sort of vigorous physical activity will NOT offset the risks posed by prolonged sitting.

Sedentary Cats

Cats are mostly sedentary creatures since they sleep most of the day.
Don't be like my cats. Get up and move!

The Mayo Clinic recommends the following solutions to incorporate more standing in your
everyday routine (3):

Standing Treadmill Desk

How Does Sitting Cause Back and Neck Pain?

Prolonged sitting, especially with bad posture, is one of the worst things you can do for your
back. Many of us tend to lean forward, placing our neck over our bodies when we sit. This causes muscular imbalances as the cervical spine is placed in an unnatural position, straining
cervical/upper back muscles. This can lead to upper back and neck pain and even headaches (1,4).

Poor Sitting PostureSitting also increases the amount of stress placed on the intervertebral discs in the spine, which can increase the risk of disc injury in an individual (4). Sitting also relaxes the abdominal muscles, tightens up the muscles of the hips, and weakens the gluteals (the muscles of the rear end), creating a perfect storm of muscular imbalance that can cause low back and leg pain.

At Corning Chiropractic Associates, we frequently advise our patients to avoid prolonged sitting. A large portion of the patients we see with neck and low back pain spend most of their day sitting with bad posture and get little exercise, and, for some, the simple act of standing and moving more can do wonders for easing back and neck pain.

If you do need to sit, take a quick look at the graphic below for proper positioning!

Lastly, talk to your doctor of chiropractic about strategies you can use to avoid spending too
much time sitting!

Keep moving, everyone!

ideal sitting position

References For This Article:

1. Carrick, E. (2016, April 22). 5 Unhealthy Side Effects of Sitting All Day. Retrieved March 28, 2017, from http://www.cheatsheet.com/life/side-effects-of-sitting-all-day.html/?a=viewall

2. Corliss, J. (2015, January 22). Too much sitting linked to heart disease, diabetes, premature death. Retrieved March 28, 2017, from http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/much-sitting-linked-heart-disease-diabetes-premature-death-201501227618

3. Levine, J. A. (2015, September 4). Sitting risks: How harmful is too much sitting? Retrieved March 28, 2017, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/sitting/faq-20058005

4. Mercola, J. (2015, May 8). Here's What Sitting for Long Periods of Time Does to Your Body. Retrieved March 28, 2017, from http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2015/05/08/sitting-too-long.aspx

5. E. (2013, July 17). New Survey: To Sit or Stand? Almost 70% of Full Time American Workers Hate Sitting, but They do it all Day Every Day. Retrieved March 28, 2017, from
http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/new-survey-to-sit-or-stand-almost-70-of-full-timeamerican-workers-hate-sitting-but-they-do-it-all-day-every-day-215804771.html

6. Preidt, R. (2016, August 16). Even if you exercise, too much sitting time is bad. Retrieved
March 28, 2017, from http://www.cbsnews.com/news/even-if-you-exercise-prolonged-sitting-time-is-bad-for-heart-health/

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