What Chiropractic Patients Should Know About Sitting While Working
It's no big secret that exercise is good for you. Many articles and books have been written and studies completed on the subject of physical fitness. However, lately, it's been discussed whether a five-mile run or spin class is really enough. Is our work environment undoing any positive effort we put into staying healthy?
The short answer is YES. Human bodies were not built to sit for long periods of time. Our twenty-first-century workplace—working behind a desk, typing on the computer, endless video conferences—unfortunately stacks against us to keep us on our…Well, not on our feet.
There are 4 harmful effects on a person's body that stem from sitting at work. They are as follows:
1. Sitting for long hours each day can cause pain and problems in the back
Working at a desk for many hours a day causes employees to stay in one position for an extended length of time. This puts a great deal of pressure on their backs. Over time, painful back problems can develop and, if left untreated, continue to worsen.
2. Sitting takes a toll on our waistline
Obesity is at an all time high in the United States, and at least a good chunk of the reason is our sedentary lifestyle. Sitting for a long period (8 or more hours a day) decreases our metabolism, causing us to burn fewer calories. The time sittting at our desks can end up packing on the pounds.
3. Sitting can increase the chance of developing a life-threatening disease
Studies show individuals with sedentary jobs have more health problems than their active counterparts. Cardiovascular disease and Type 2 Diabetes are both examples of health issues that arise more often in people who regularly sit down most of the day.
4. Sitting can cause premature death
This may sound melodramatic, but it's true. As we talked about above, sitting for prolonged periods of time puts you at greater risk of diseases that could end up killing you. A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, "found people who sat for over 11 hours a day had a 40% greater risk of dying within three years from any cause than people who sat less than 4 hours a day."
So, what should a sedentary office person do to improve their health and decrease the risk that extended time spent sitting daily causes?
- Get on your feet! Schedule times during the workday to stand up and walk. If you can't remember to do it, add an alarm on your cell phone. Even a couple minutes on your feet each hour will help balance the negatives of prolonged sitting. If your boss will not let you, you can always see your chiropractor and he or she can write you a doctor's note, stating you need to stand up to walk around and stretch your legs for 4-5 minutes every 1-2 hours. It is a very common doctor's note, and many people have one on file with employers due to low back pain or another condition.
- Learn to sit correctly. If you must sit, make certain your chair isn't causing more damage. Select a chair that is height and angle adjustable. The seat should support your lower body, and the back should fit the curves of your spine. Special bonus points go to chairs with lumbar support and ones that rock back and forth.
- Visit your chiropractor. Back problems brought on by a job behind a desk are not going to magically go away actually and will get worse over time. Make a chiropractic appointment, get examined, and work to correct the issue.
- Invest in a standing desk. A growing trend is to turn a sitting job into a standing job. Desks that are taller have the ability to keep you on your feet longer, which will provide many health benefits in the long run. One of which is a reduction in weight--you burn more calories standing in place than sitting in place! Ask your employer, they may be open to you changing your sitting desk into a standing one the next time equipment is ordered!
Good health is one of our greatest assets, and it pays to protect it. By understanding the risks of a sedentary working environment, we can be proactive by increasing activity and by promoting our individual fitness.
If you or a loved one needs more insight on how chiropractic can guide you toward a healthier lifestyle, give Millar Chiropractic a call at 256-830-0000 to schedule an appointment with one of our top university-trained chiropractic physicians or call 1-800-GO-CHIRO...We’re here to help!
Millar Chiropractic Clinics - Huntsville, AL