It is true, these things are killers. In fact, they are killing more than smoking is these days. What are they? CHAIRS. I know it’s not such a scary word at all and I am certainly not afraid of my black leather recliner at home. We are buddies!
But the studies say something else. They say that sitting throughout your day is a huge risk factor for all of those nasty problems like diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, back pain, depression, cardiovascular disease and even cancer. Ugh, and if that is not enough, sitting for just twenty minutes gets the ball rolling in that direction.
So a lot of studies have been done on this and evidently the same thing that ages astronauts when they are in space are the same thing that hammers us when we are in that seated position for too long, lack of gravity and the ensuing chemical change to the body. Wow, pretty cool discovery.
They also discovered that since astronauts could recover and turn back that accelerated aging and deteriorating body through gravity and exercise, we should we who sit all day should also be able to do that.
But not so fast tiger. Complementing studies in Australia demonstrated that even those who exercise rigorously five times a week were not able to turn back the clock on the damage from sitting all day.
As a chiropractor in Fort Collins, Colorado I get out in the community and provide lectures and health screenings at companies and schools all over the place. The teachers tell me that the students are at their best when they are up and moving. The company employees tell me about their aches and pains and how they feel terrible at the end of the day.
The chair is killing us and our kids.
Do I have any good news? I do. GET UP.
If you have read enough and realize that sitting is probably one of the worse things you can be doing to your health then the good news is to just GET UP. Movement is life to this body. We know that if we don’t move it, we lose it. Just by simply getting up from that seated position every twenty minutes you will change the direction of the sitting insult to your body. It is as easy as a change in position. Now that might be a lot to ask since you are at work and you have a ton to do and remembering to get up every twenty minutes of your 8 to 12 hour day is a bit much. The other options are to get a standing desk. These are good but can be hard as you will fatigue in this position too. Especially if you have some structural or spine challenges already. Perhaps the ultimate is a walking desk. Yes, they make such a thing. It is a treadmill with a desk over it. You set it to a very casual walk and you are moving yourself to life and getting your work done. These are becoming the next wave. I wonder how many HR departments are going to get requests from them after reading this.
In other studies out there, they have looked at indigenous people from around the world who don’t sit a whole lot and are constantly on the move. You guessed it, no back pain, little to no obesity, and the reset of those on the nasty disease list are minimal comparatively. Hmmm, I think the suggesting here is that we need to ditch the chair and move a lot more.
On a side note, I started writing this sitting in a chair. By the end of the third paragraph, I was standing!