By Dr. Dave Vukelich, D.C.
I cannot stress enough how dangerous a sedentary lifestyle is to our health. The phrase “Sitting is the new Smoking” was originally coined by Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative and inventor of the treadmill desk. This phrase gets people’s attention.
From a Chiropractic point of view, sitting creates many postural issues that lead to painful injuries, especially now that our culture does it so much. We sit in the car on the way to work, where many of us sit for a good portion of the day. Then we sit at lunch, during the commute home and finally we sit at the computer or the TV to unwind.
Holding a seated position for long bouts reduces circulation, causes fatigue and allows muscles to pull joints out of alignment. Muscles like pecs and psoas shorten from being in the same ‘flexed’ position all day. This causes the ‘tech neck’ and ‘mouse arm’ symptoms.
From an over-all health standpoint, sitting encourages the development of lifestyle diseases like obesity, type II diabetes, heart disease and even cancer.
For example one study from Prevention reveals that “Obese people tend to sit an average of 2.5 hours longer than thin people.” Another study from Forbes suggests that “sitting 6+ hours per day makes you up to 40% likelier to die within 15 years than someone who sits less than 3.”
Companies are now investing in wellness programs that help employees avoid the effects of too much sitting. This trend aims to make a dent in the additional health care costs that go along with a sedentary lifestyle. According to WebMD, “the average person with heart disease loses more than $1 million over the course of his or her lifetime.” The fact is that most of us simply can’t afford to be sedentary so my advice is to keep moving!