Is Sitting Really That Bad For Your Health?

Here’s a habit that everyone does daily…

It’s something we spend around nine hours doing – and that’s not counting the eight hours we spend lying down sleeping…

Can you guess what it is?

It’s sitting.

I bet while you’re sat reading this you might be thinking “that’s not me”…

But when you break your day down into travelling to work, sitting at work, travelling home, sitting down AGAIN – it’s easy to see how the hours build up.

Sitting is something that was once done only when you needed a rest.

Not anymore.

Almost everything we do, involves sitting down…

Whether you’re in your car, at work, eating dinner, catching up with friends, watching TV, or relaxing – we’re all sitting…

I’m guilty of it too.

If you’ve nodded your head, said yes to most of the points above and your hours spent sitting add to 9 or more, you could be at risk of running into problems with your health.

Here’s why:

First, have you even noticed your back and shoulders feel tight when you’ve been sitting all day?

You know the feeling when you just want to stretch?

Sitting does that, it makes your shoulders feel achy and tight.

Why?

Because when we sit, we ‘slump’ into a slouched position, rolling our shoulders forwards.

Over time this can put strain on your back muscles and neck, causing them to tighten up, which isn’t a good feeling!

As well as sitting slouched, when you’re sitting at a computer it’s easy to hold your neck forward while concentrating.

Which again puts strain on your muscles.

My tip for you to help correct this:

Every 30 minutes check-in with yourself, roll your shoulders back, stand up, have a stretch and make sure your neck isn’t leaning forward.

This should help ease the aches and tension you feel.

What about your legs and hips?

Sitting for long periods of time can affect those too.

It makes your muscles tighten up, and even weaken, because when you’re sitting your muscles are made to shorten…

When your muscles aren’t stretched it can cause pain and lead to poor circulation.

Like when you get pins and needles after sitting for longer periods of time.

My tip: Stand up throughout the day, go for a walk, even if it’s around the office – this will help lengthen the muscles and not keep them scrunched up.

Did you know sitting has an impact on your lungs too?

This one might surprise you but when you sit down all day, you reduce the amount of oxygen that enters your body…

When you’re hunched over, your lungs are compressed meaning there’s less space for your lungs to expand when you breathe.

This limits the amount of oxygen that fills your lungs.

My tip: Every half hour be aware of your posture and make sure you’re sitting up straight.

Stand up, take a few deep breaths, lift your arms above your head and take a deep breath in…

You might even feel more energized!

Do you ever feel bloated after a long day or week spent sitting down?

Well, when you’re sitting in a curled over position your digestion slows down because it compresses your abdomen.

Which can also lead to bloating, heartburns and even constipation.

Additionally, when you’re sat down your bowel functions are less efficient than when you’re standing up.

My tip: Stand regularly throughout the day and take time to move.

Walk to work, to the store, walk on the treadmill – whatever gets you moving and opens up your body, will help!

The reality is, you and I need to sit LESS.

Fact: Even just by spending an hour sitting, you reduce your bodies ability to burn fat by up to 90%…

Because it slows down your metabolism significantly.

Which can reduce the amount of good cholesterol in your body.

Without good cholesterol you’re at a greater risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Excess sitting in slouched positions is also the same number one cause of back pain and neck and shoulder tension in people who come to see me.

If something isn’t done about it quickly – it can cause problems further down the line.

Stand up when walking on the phone – I prefer walking and talking at the same time.

Set a timer on your phone for 30 minutes and stand up from your desk and walk around.

Stretch in the morning, when you get home and even during your dinner break.

Learn to improve your seating posture and have regular posture check ins with yourself.

To sum up – we’re creatures of habit, and our bodies are a result of those habits.

Getting up and moving more might feel hard at first, but do it enough and it will soon become second nature…

You’ll feel healthier, more active and reduce the risk of back pain too.

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