Are you still sitting all day at work?
Health risks: is sitting the new smoking?
As chiropractors, we see the detrimental effects that sitting can have on our musculoskeletal system. However, the health risks of too much sitting affect so much more of our body than just our spine and joints. Our purpose for running a ‘Sitting Awareness Campaign’ was to share this information with the community with the hopes that it would inspire people to analyze their daily habits and routines and provoke change for the better. Even if only one person improves their life by moving more and sitting less because of this campaign than this will be all worth it!
Over the next few weeks we will discuss different topics and ideas about sitting and we will hopefully provide some useful concepts that are easy to implement in your daily routine. Today, I am going to discuss the negative effects that sitting has on our health and in the posts to follow we will go through interventions and ways to help!
Before starting this campaign, I was recommended to read the book “Scared Sitless” by Larry Swanson. For anyone who sits for extended periods in a day I would strongly recommend reading it as well. According to obesity researcher Peter Katzmarzyk, “sitting is an independent risk factor” and the first page of the book states, “no matter how active you are after work, if you sit all day, you will die sooner than you would have otherwise. You’ll also suffer more disability for a longer period of time in your final years.” Think about that for a second. Even if you spend your evening at the gym or if you run marathons, you cannot out-exercise the harmful effects of sitting for too long.
What exactly happens when we sit? The electrical activity in your muscles drops immediately, you burn calories at a much lower rate and you have an increased risk for diabetes. You are also prone to systemic inflammation and impaired blood circulation. Sitting alters your body’s ability to regulate blood pressure, distorts your muscles, tendons, and ligaments, and your postural muscles become imbalanced and put you at risk for injury (Chapter one, Scared Sitless).
Reading this list, you can now see why too much sitting is compared to smoking in regards to how it harms our health. So help us change this! Get moving more starting today and help encourage those around you to do the same. If you would like us to share this information with your work colleagues or if you would like to start your own campaign, give us a call at the office and we will help you make arrangements.
Yours in health,
Dr. Catherine Carter, DC