We all know that being sedentary for long periods of time is not so great for our general health and wellbeing, especially if it occurs most days of the week. It has even been said that sitting for extended periods is worse than smoking. This is because your “bodily functions” also become sedentary – your circulation and brain function slows, your muscles burn less fat, your digestive system becomes sluggish and your muscles degenerate as they’re not being used. Then of course these issues can further develop into conditions such as diabetes, varicose veins, constipation, moodiness, poor posture and weak muscles. In fact, regularly sitting for long periods of time can actually reduce your lifespan! A study has shown that if you reduce your overall time spent sitting each day to less than three hours you could extend your life by two years.
Aside from the above health issues, you may have noticed that sitting for too long can actually leave you with pain through your back and neck. This is because the muscles and discs of your back and spine are being put under prolonged stress. After a while you’ll inevitably begin to slouch, compressing your spinal discs and over-extending the spinal ligaments. Over time you may develop a poor posture, as your body becomes accustomed to this long-held position. If you think that you can prevent any issues by being vigilant about maintaining the perfect posture – staying in the same position for an extended period is still damaging for your spine. So you still need to make sure that you’re breaking up those stints of sitting.
…So how long is too long?
Too long can be as little as 20-30 minutes. So where possible stand up and move around for at least a few minutes for every half hour of sitting, or at least 10 minutes for every hour. This will help to keep your body loose, and the increase in circulation will give your brain function a boost too. Another good option, if you work at a desk is to opt for a sit-stand desk. That way you can vary your position throughout the day – plus, you’ll burn more calories if you work standing up!
If you would like help with developing a regime to improve your daily routine and posture, and to possibly help to lengthen your life, get in touch with our team at 13th Beach Health Services on 03) 5254 2668. Alternatively you can select either our Barwon Heads or Ocean Grove Clinic and book online Here.