What Are The Risks Of Sitting Too Much?
There are 168 hours in a week. If you subtract sleeping, exercising, doing errands or chores, that leaves approximately 114 hours, or 67% of our time left. What are we doing with 67% of our time? Sitting…..Especially when we are working from home which can cause neck, hip and back pain. The risks of sitting too much include, but are not limited to, disease, lower over-all health, and depression.
Travis Saunders, a Ph.D. student and certified exercise physiologist at the Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group at Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario states ”sitting increases your risk of death and disease, even if you are getting plenty of physical activity. It’s a bit like smoking. Smoking is bad for you even if you get lots of exercise. So is sitting too much.” Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative and inventor of the treadmill desk even coined the term “Sitting is the new smoking.”
There are numerous articles in the news lately quoting many studies that show how sitting the majority of our day can affect our overall health. Health Hazards of Sitting provides the best information, concise and organized I’ve seen in one place on the effects of sitting and some things you can do about it.
How to Adjust
My recommendations of what you can do about sitting too much:
- Get up and move for 1-3 min every hour
- Stretching exercises for the areas tightened by sitting – hip flexors, upper back, lower back (see below)
- Get a standing desk such as this one from Varidesk
- Balance on 1 leg often throughout the day – can be done while doing everyday activities such as brushing your teeth, making a sandwich, while talking on phone
This exercise will stretch the hip flexors, upper and lower back. Repeat each movement 3x 2x/day and after any extended sitting for 3-4 hours.
Stand with legs shoulder width apart, arms overhead
- Rock pelvis forward/backward as arms/upper body goes back
- Shift hips side/side as arms go opposite direction of hips
Along with these exercises, we’ve rounded up more helpful tips and tricks to help you feel better when sitting or standing at work. Now let’s get moving in order to reclaim movement, your function, and your life!