Sitting is the NEW habit to quit

Sedentary behavior (from the Latin sedere-”to sit”) is the term used to describe behaviors for which energy expenditure is low; such as prolonged sitting time at our desk in grade school and college, travelling to and from work, at work, and at home.

Research commissioned by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) showed that a third (1/3) of people spend over 10 hours sitting down every day. They also found in their study that posture affects and moderates all human functions, both consciously and unconsciously, from breathing to hormone production, to thinking.

Children’s developing musculoskeletal structures are especially vulnerable to damage caused by sitting and poor posture.

Adults, on average, spend more than half their waking hours sitting. People in industrial society now sit for an average of 32 years of their life! Three-quarters of all workers in industrialized countries have jobs that require sitting for long periods.

Prolonged sitting in a static posture has a negative effect on the health of the spine and thus increases the chance of chronic pain. Sitting also causes poor posture which is a causal factor in early death and illness susceptibility. Even if you get 30 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week, you still might be at risk of adverse metabolic and health effects from prolonged sitting.

It’s time we learn how to kick the habit to the curb! We can do this by creating better strategies for how we go about our day. We are not going to necessarily quit our jobs or stop going to school, but what we can do is start thinking about new ways to incorporate more movement into our existing lives.

Think about how many times you have met someone “for a coffee” and simply sat. Why not go for a walk instead? Aim to minimize sitting as much as possible. If you sit at work, you need to put much more effort into NOT sitting during leisure time.  A good strategy is to sit on a posture cushion or unstable platform that allows your pelvis and hips to move slightly and forces you to engage your core muscles. You may also find sitting on an exercise ball to be helpful. This is a great option if you choose to watch television, as you can incorporate some exercises into the commercial breaks.

If you work at a computer, it is a worthwhile investment to purchase a desk that can elevate so that you can alternate between sitting and standing. An even better solution is to make your own treadmill workstation.

When these aspects of spinal health are restored, healthy spinal neurology (communication and coordination) can also be restored and maintained. When you incorporate chiropractic care and spinal stretches and coordination exercises you will be adding a powerful regiment designed to restore and maintain range of motion, muscular strength and stamina, joint lubrication and nutrition, and proper posture. Ask your chiropractor how you can include this into your health care today!

Dr. Timothy Milano is a Chiropractor at Integrated Wellness Chiropractic in Marquette, Certified Neuro Strategist, Life Coach, and leader in his community. He is a husband and father of 5 beautiful children.