Are you sitting too much during your workday? If you are anything like the majority of the U.S., you are spending at least 6 hours or more of your day at work sitting in a chair. This epidemic of “sitting” too much is not only a problem at work, it also follows us everywhere we go in everyday lives and activities that we love to enjoy. When you spend a majority of your day sitting down, you are actually causing potentially more damage to your entire body that you may not have even noticed.
If you aren’t sure if your daily activities promotes sitting more than standing, lets just run through a normal daily routine that could possibly mimic your average person’s routine. Imagine yourself waking up in the morning, you make your cup of coffee and “sit” down to drink your coffee, eat your breakfast, watch the TV while checking news, weather, sports, etc.. Once you are finished with your coffee or breakfast, you start your day to work where you are “sitting” in your car, carpool ride, bus, or whatever type of transport that gets you to work. Then once at work you will “sit” at your desk, or at your workstation of some kind, for most of the workday until your shift or day is over. Then once your done with your work, you will “sit” on your commute back home to end your day “sitting” on the couch unwinding while you “sit” and eat dinner. After your long day you will make your way to the bedroom and “sit” on the bed to lie down to go to sleep, just to wake up the next morning to “sit” all over again. On average you will have been “sitting” down for about 9 hours or more during the day.
Overall there are more problems that can occur in your body due to “sitting” too much during your day, compared to those who sit less during their day. To put things into perspective, a person who “sits” for more than 6 hours in a day, could potentially have a 40% more of a chance to waste away than someone who only “sits” for less than 3 hours a day. There are more things that could go wrong in your body due to excessive “sitting” during your day. There have been studies that have linked healthcare concerns and problems to individuals who have excessive “sitting” with problems with being overweight, obese, becoming a Type 2 Diabetic, different types of cancer, cardiovascular problems, and potentially a premature death.
Sometimes when you are going about your normal day, you don’t really think or feel the different physical effects that may be occurring within your body. Multiple studies have shown that people who are overweight or obese “sit” around 2.5 additional hours in a day compared to skinnier individuals. This occurs due to your metabolism slowing down as you “sit”, as your body burns drastically less calories while “sitting” compared to standing or just overall movement of your body.
There can also be adaptation of your muscles, tendons and ligaments that your body creates due to “sitting” more during your day. This affects your muscles like your hip flexors, both on the right and left side of your hips, causing these flexor muscles to shorten overall. This shortening of these muscles inhibits your hips and legs to get the stretch that is needed, and this leads to overall posture problems with these tightened muscles not allowing you to stand up as tall and straight like your body is supposed to stand. With the hip flexors shortening, this also causes a Forward Tilt of the Pelvis. This forward tilt of your pelvis creates additional stress on the low back structure with the tension on the muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves that exit the spine. With having a pelvis that is tilted forward, this can cause your lumbar vertebra to become out of alignment, and overtime if not properly cared for can be the cause of degeneration of your lumbar spine, disc degeneration, and possibly disc herniation. This is bad for your overall posture because these joints in the lower back are not able to function properly with the correct motion to allow your hips, legs and low back to work in conjunction with each other properly. All of these things lead your back down the road to chronic low back pain, with the potential problem of having pain, tingling, or numbness and additional muscle strains.
At PrimeSpine, we not only evaluate your low back, hips, and entire body but also your lifestyle. This allows us to get a full picture of what you do on a daily basis to help us create the proper care that is needed. We also not only just correct the misalignments in your spine and body, but also create workout and specific exercise plans that can create more movement in your day, which helps your body move and become activated again with proper posture. When you “sit” for more hours in your day your overall posture is what can become affected, and cause other health problems, neck and back pain, sciatica, and even arm and shoulder pain. When looking at your overall posture from “sitting” more in your daily routine, we at Proline Chiropractic aim to help you straighten out your posture and your “sitting” routine.
Now there are multiple things, activities, corrective exercises, or routines that you can and should be doing to help avoid problems that arise from “sitting” too much during your day. It isn’t just how much time you spend “sitting”, but how much time you are moving throughout your day. Here are some easy ideas on how you can incorporate more movement into your day, by just making some small adjustments to your routine.
- When at work and on a phone call, try and stand instead of “sit” when on the phone, or pace around the desk or office if your phone cord allows you to.
- When you have inter-office meetings, instead of just calling the other person to talk, just walk over to their desk or office. This will help you break up that inactive time you have spend “sitting” during the day.
- Drinking water is key to our daily living, so try and have a bottle or cup that you use for drinking water and don’t fill it up to the top, as this will create more opportunity to get up and re-fill your water
- Set a reminder on your calendar that makes you get up from your ‘sitting’ position every hour. This will help you remember to get up and create movement with stretching, small exercises, and also breaks up the static position your body is in while ‘sitting’.
Not only can you help your body with movement through these small simple reminders that create exercise for your body, but there are also exercises that you can do right at your desk to break up the day. Below are some exercises that will help you get active at work.
- Shoulder Shrugs – Stand up and raise both of your shoulders towards your ears and hold for 1-2 seconds and then relax the shoulders back down to the normal position.
- Neck Tilts – Stand up and keep both shoulders relaxed with the arms hanging loosely towards the ground, and then tilt your head sideways to one shoulder and hold for at least 5 seconds, and then repeat on the other shoulder.
- Forearm and Wrist Stretch – Place your hands palms to palms with the fingers pointed up and move the hands downward while keeping your fingers up and elbows even and hold for 5-8 seconds. Then rotate your palms forward until your fingers are pointed down, while keeping your elbows even and hold this stretch for about 5-8 seconds.
- Back and Hip Stretch – While sitting put right leg over the left leg where your knees are on top of each other and look over your right shoulder, place your left hand on the right thigh and your right arm on the back of the chair and gently apply a twisting pressure to the right, hold for 3-5 seconds and then repeat on the other side.
- Upper Back Stretch – Interlace your fingers together, turn your palms outward and then straighten your arms above your head. You want to try and elongate your arms to be able to stretch the upper part of the rib cage, and hold this for 10-15 seconds while you are breathing deeply and slowly.
- Hamstring Stretch – While sitting hold onto the leg just above and behind the knee, with gently pulling the left leg toward your chest and hold for about 15-20 seconds and then repeat on the other leg.
- Upper Back Stretch – Stand up and interlace your fingers behind your head while keeping your elbows outward, and then pull your shoulder blades together trying to make them touch each other and hold for 5 seconds then relax.
- Hand and Finger Stretch – Separate and straighten out your fingers from one another and hold for about 10 seconds, then bend the fingers at the knuckles (like a claw), and hold for another 10 seconds, then repeat.
- Back Stretch – While seated lean forward in your chair keeping your head and neck down and relaxed (like you are trying to put your head between your knees) with putting your arms down your legs and trying to touch the floor with your hands, and hold for 10-20 seconds then relax.
- Side Stretch – Stand up and grab your left elbow with your right hand, and gently pull your left elbow behind your head (like you are trying to touch your right shoulder blade with your left hand) and hold for 10 seconds and breath while doing this, then repeat on the other side.
- Neck Stretch – Either standing or sitting with your arms hanging loosely, tilt your head forward (like you are looking at the ground) hold for 5 seconds then tilt your head to the right (stretching the left back neck muscles) hold for 5 seconds, and then tilt your head to the left (stretching the right back neck muscles) hold for 5 seconds and then relax.
Overall research has stated that if you remain in a ‘sitting’ position during the day for long periods of time, this is bad for your overall health and wellness no matter how much exercise your involved with in your daily activities. This long duration of ‘sitting’ causes complacency of your muscles and overall body posture, putting additional stress and strain on the lower back muscles, hips, upper back muscles and neck posture.
Here at PrimeSpine we take into account your normal activities of daily living, job duties, and leisure activities. We not only look at the posture of your overall body, muscle structure, and lifestyle, but also help you specific adjustments to the spine and body. Additionally we provide specific exercises that could help with the continued stress that is put upon the body due to ‘sitting’ more throughout your day. Call us Today at (425) 590-9619, and allows us take care of your spine so you can live the pain free life you always wanted to!