Similar to how “High Blood Pressure” can wreck havoc on your cardiovascular health. Sitting can have effects on your neuro-musculoskeletal system; medical jargon meaning nerves, muscles, bones, joints, and related structures.
The human body was meant to move. Are bodies are designed to walk, run, jump, skip, bend, twist, push, pull, and climb. Today we spend more time than ever sitting. The average person may commute to work 1-2 hrs per day, many occupations require 8-10 hrs on the road per day, office and clerical workers spend anywhere from 6-10 hrs sitting at their desks, and for leisure time we spend more and more of our time watching television, going out to movies or films, or surfing the internet.
What’s the BIG DEAL anyway? Low back and neck pain has been described as the “FLU” of the neuro-musculoskeletal system. It causes more time off work than any other condition. It’s also jamming up our emergency departments and doctor’s offices with non-emergency / non-life threatening problems. There is mounting evidence to suggest that our sedentary lifestyles may be to blame.
The easiest solution would be simply not to sit. Realistically this is not possible. What I propose is something called “Active Sitting”. Active Sitting may help improve posture, balance, circulation, core strength, and productivity while you sit. Don’t get us wrong, We still suggest that you get up and move as frequently as you are able to; rotating between tasks and positions throughout the day, but I realize the constraints that most people must deal with.
Before you can start to take an active role in preventing and managing the forgotten health risks of sitting, you must understand what sitting actually does to your body. Physically it compresses the spine (more so than standing), it shortens and tightens your hip flexors, hamstrings, chest, and posterior neck muscles. This can result in the numerous standing postural deviations; forward head posture, protracted shoulder girdle,sway back, etc.
More importantly to you, these dysfunctions can overtime lead to chronic pain in the neck, shoulder, upper back, and low back. Most people can relate to that dull achy nagging sensation in the upper back that just won’t go away. That pain is often caused my nothing more than fatigue of your postural stabilizers. Overtime this can lead to a variety of problems ranging from joint restrictions, impingement syndromes, discal injuries, and arthritic conditions.
What should you do? Active sitting involves sitting squarely on your pelvic bones with your weight distributed evenly from side to side, and from front to back. Using an unstable surface such as an exercise ball, or whats called a DINA disk can help you achieve this neutral position naturally. When you sit on an unstable surface it naturally engages your body’s postural muscles for you. In essence, you are training your core while you sit. Even better, these unstable surfaces can easily be used to shift, and rotate your pelvis while you work. This helps encourage better circulation, and improve core strength while helping to reduce muscle tension and spinal compressive loads while you sit.
So in conclusion a body in motion stays in motion! At Fixmyfitnessclub.com we have a name for sedentary people ” we equate them to statues” eventually they will rust and deteriorate.
Dave Parise C.P.T.