With the advancement of technology, improvements in straight-to-your-door services and almost everything available to you at your fingertips, more and more of us are living increasingly sedentary lifestyles. Whilst this is great in some ways, caution needs to be taken not to spend too much time on the sofa, office chair or car seat alike.
It’s easy to get carried away with what you’re doing if you’re on a roll with work at the computer, driving a long distance and wanting to get straight to your destination without stopping or blitzing that TV series you wanted to catch up on. Most of your concentration goes on the task at hand with little consideration to your body or the long term consequences this could have.
From a postural perspective, over time, the compression through the spine and discs increases greatly with sitting for prolonged periods of time and if slouching this can over stretch ligaments and muscles, further adding to the damage being done. In addition, scientists say there are a number of associated health concerns to watch out for such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Researchers have also reported that even if you’re relatively active and get your daily exercise, sitting for a further 7 or 8 hours of the day will undo all your good work.
What Can I Do About It?
Fortunately, there are ways you can help prevent yourself from sitting down too long and suffering the effects of it, such as:-
• Set yourself reminders to get up and move about every 30 minutes or so
• Stand and walk about whilst on the phone
• Stand instead of sit whilst on the train or bus
• Position your work surface on a standing desk or above a treadmill
• Move around with every coffee / tea break or during TV adverts
If you find you can’t avoid sitting for hours on end then ensuring you sit correctly is of paramount importance and you can do this by:-
• Sitting up relatively straight with good lower back support, helping to maintain the curve in your lumbar spine
• Sit with your buttocks to the back of your chair
• Ensure there are no keys, wallet, coins etc in your back pocket that might alter your alignment
• Don’t slouch, keep yourself upright with your arms resting on your chair at 90 degrees
• Sit as close to your desk as possible with the screen at eye level
Make a conscious decision to keep an eye on your posture and movement throughout the day and this will greatly help stave off the adverse effects of sitting for too long.