Is Sitting Really the New Smoking?
With smart phones and laptops taking up a large part of our time coupled with diabetes type 2 and other lifestyle diseases on the rise, the new health slogan has become ‘sitting is the new smoking.’ Here Dr. Pamela Leader, Doctor of Chiropractic reveals more.
Prolonged sitting strains muscles and spinal joints in the lower back, the upper back, and the neck; and if ignored, can lead to chronic lower back pain involving the sacro-iliac joints, the lumbar spine, and depending on the positions you adopt, the dorsal and cervical spine. Muscle strain leads to spasms and imbalance, which in turn can block the pelvic and spinal joints causing pelvic dysfunction or facet syndrome. Left untreated, it can also result in degenerative disc disease, disc herniation, and facet joint arthritis.
According to The British Journal of Sports Medicine, people who sit still for prolonged periods of time have increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases—including heart disease— cancer, and other prevalent chronic health problems. Prolonged sitting promotes a lack of whole-body muscle movement; recent evidence has shown that sitting for long hours can raise your risk of early death from cardiovascular diseases.
Ergonomic Checklist for the Office:
- Get up from your desk and take regular breaks. Take a two minute walk around the office with regular stretches at least every hour, but preferably every half hour.
- Exercise helps counteract the body’s inactivity. The recommended exercise each person should be doing each week is 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity in three or four sessions. If you are new to exercise start by fast walking then gradually increase to running or aerobic activity.
- Telephone, laptop stands, keyboard, mouse and mouse pad can be checked for optimum position and ergonomic suitability. Make sure your screen is directly in front of you if possible.
- Stretching exercises at work are great, a few minutes of stretching in your chair can help loosen those tight muscles and may decrease the chances of getting pain or RSI from workplace stress.
References: (Published Online First 2 December 2008 Neville Owen, Cancer Prevention Research Centre, School of Population Health, The University of Queensland, Herston Road, Herston 4006, Brisbane, Australia. Et al)