The term “Sitting Disease” has been coined by the scientific community and is commonly used when referring to the ill-effects of an overly sedentary lifestyle.
Sitting down, which most of us do for at least eight hours each day, might be one of the worst things we do for our health (how many hours do you sit every day? Find out here).
Here is what researchers are saying:
“For people who sit most of the day, their risk of heart attack is about the same as smoking” – Martha Grogan, cardiologist, Mayo Clinic
“Today, our bodies are breaking down from obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, depression, and the cascade of health ills and everyday malaise that come from what scientists have named sitting disease.” – James Levine, MD, PhD
Here are some more facts: Scientists at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana analyzed the lifestyles of more than 17,000 men and women over about 13 years, and found that people who sit for most of the day are 54 percent more likely to die of heart attacks. The results of this inactivity study were published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
Scary huh? But because until not too long ago, our species was hunting and gathering, it’s obvious we weren’t designed to sit for hours on end and now we’re paying the price for it.
Many of us are tied to jobs that involve sitting at a desk, or to long commutes in the car. In addition, we may relax in the evening with more sitting, in front of the TV or iPad. So what can we do, short of opting for a job that involves manual labor?
Fortunately, there are a few simple things you can do to fight sitting disease:
Take breaks from your desk. These can be as simple as standing up for a phone call, or walking down the hall to the copier. Try to space this activity throughout the day, so you don’t sit for more than an hour without a break.
Sit better. Attaining proper posture is one of the most important things you can do for your body. Here are some pointers to get you started:
Nowadays there are simple devices such as BackGenie, that allow you to effortlessly sit in perfect posture. BetterBack acts like a belt mechanism that straps you into perfect posture and doesn’t let you slump and slouch. It’s an affordable solution for better sitting that turns even the most simple chair into an ergonomic one.
Consider a standing desk arrangement, or a sitting ball. The act of standing or balancing on a ball can burn many more calories and keep your muscles engaged and alive.
Move before climbing into the car for your commute, or even better, consider walking to work if at all possible.
While watching TV – stand up. Do some squats and other moves to strengthen your legs. Dance around or do yoga poses. Ride your exercise bike.
Swim three times a week. Swimming strengthens your core, naturally improving posture and fighting back pain.
And if you don’t have time to go swimming or do any of the above, at least download the 6 Minute Back Pain Relief app. It features a collection of the best exercises that will make your back feel wonderful and it will only take 6 minutes of your day. You will thank us later…