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Woman experiencing backpain from sitting

The Danger of Sitting Too Much

It’s estimated that adults spend around 50-70% of their day doing sedentary activities. When you take into account watching TV, computer use, driving and phone use, sitting time can quickly add up. We all know the benefits of physical activity, yet the modern world seems to encourage prolonged sitting.

The Risks of Prolonged Sitting

Today’s world has many technological, social and environmental changes which encourage sedentary habits to form. For many of us, our baseline activity level has dramatically decreased compared to our grandparents, or even our parents. Prolonged sitting is now considered a major risk factor in many chronic health conditions including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and obesity.

Regardless of your regular activity level, long periods of uninterrupted sitting have negative impacts on your health. There are no recommendations for how long you should be sitting for, but ideally, you should spend the majority of your day actively moving around. However, this isn’t always possible, especially for those with desk jobs. Work schedules in today’s society have led to many people spending more than half their day sitting, which our bodies were not designed for, and this can result in the following:

Obesity:  It’s much more difficult to maintain a healthy weight when you’re sitting for most of the day. The body burns fewer calories when sedentary and the metabolism slows.

Posture:  Sitting at a desk for long periods can be bad for your posture. Hours in front of a screen can lead to back and neck pain due to poor posture. Often those working in front of a computer all day tend to hunch over or lean forward which has negative effects on the spine and back muscles over time.

What Can You Do About Prolonged Sitting?

The obvious solution is to include more physical activity into your day, however when you do sit for prolonged periods of time, maintaining good posture is essential. Many people do not maintain correct posture while sitting and this can lead to slouching which puts increased pressure on the coccyx bone, lower back and neck.

Physio’s can help with regaining correct posture using manual treatment to correct long-term tightness. A physiotherapist can also assist with exercises to improve strength that may have deteriorated over time from your sedentary posture. Physio treatment can assist by making breathing deeper and by helping to relax any tension in your body. Your Como physiotherapist can help you to learn and maintain the correct posture while sitting.

Here are a few other ideas to decrease the amount of time spent sitting:

  • Stand while on the phone, walk around if possible
  • Use a headset at work so you can move around
  • Use a standing desk and gradually transition from sitting
  • Get up every 30 minutes and move, use your smart phone to set an alarm
  • Go for a walk during your lunch break
  • Take the stairs where possible
  • Walk to your co-workers to talk instead of sending emails

There is an increasing amount of research emerging about prolonged sitting and the effect it has on our health. Unfortunately, it is becoming ‘normal’ to sit for the majority of our day and often people don’t realise how long they spend doing sedentary activities. Our team of Physio’s in Como can help you to reduce how much time you spend sitting and how to maintain your posture, which is the first step to improving your wellbeing.

If you’re suffering from discomfort caused by prolonged sitting, contact us today to book an appointment with our highly trained Physio’s.