How Concerned Should We Be About Prolonged Sitting Habits? Very.


By Anna Checket

You may have heard by now that prolonged sitting is bad for your health. From phrases like “sitting is the new smoking” to headlines that read “Sitting Can Kill You” – the dangers of sitting are certainly getting some attention. In most people’s real-world, however, it’s impossible to get work done away from a computer… so if you’re experiencing some concern around this topic, read on to get plugged in on the straightforward facts about sedentarism, and how you can adjust your habits to take control of your health.

Why’s it so bad?

-Prolonged sitting has been linked to a long list of health concerns: heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, weight gain, anxiety, depressive mood and even cancer (to name only a few).

-The postural effects adaptively change your body to reflect a seated, slouched-over posture, which means chronic low-back, neck, and shoulder pain. Not to mention increased susceptibility to deep vein thrombosis and varicose veins.

-Extended sitting has been linked to higher mortality rates; the longer one sits – the greater their risk of early death becomes.

What can I do?

-Exercise. While more exercise has not been shown to “undo” the effects of sitting (only sitting less can improve that situation), it does contribute to more time spent moving and detracts from sedentary pastimes such as watching tv, which makes matters worse.

-Prioritize postural strength and mobility. Intentionally working to improve your postural patterns can make a stunning difference in not only your appearance, but also in your health. Prolonged sitting adaptively locks people into a rounded over position, bringing the spine out of neutrality, which often causes chronic pain. Humans are simply not designed to sit for 8 hours a day… but the body is an adaptive organism and will reflect the lines of stress imposed upon it. Taking some time daily for soft-tissue work, mobility, and activation drills to address postural adaptations from sitting can help your body stay in alignment. Here’s one of our favorite thoracic spine mobility drills.

-Sit less at work. Aim for 30 minutes or less at a time of sitting, and be prepared with stretches, drills, or a short game plan (even if its a minute-long walk down the hall) to do during scheduled time out of your chair. Check out this hip flexor stretch to address low-back pain. Be diligent to take all of your breaks, and set an alarm if you have to. Once you get into a routine it will become more second-nature.

-Remember that health is maintained on a day-by-day, moment-by-moment basis. It’s a culmination of your habits and commitment over time. It is not achieved all at once or in one dose… and there is no quick fix. The more you embrace your health as a process, the more positive energy you will pour into it, and the more authentic adherence and positive outcomes you will see.

 

Address Poor Posture from Prolonged Sitting: Improve T-Spine Mobility with this Drill


By Anna Checket

Your thoracic spine is an area of your back that pays a heavy price from prolonged sitting. This is the region that gets rounded over when someone tells you to “sit up straight”, or your mid-back. Most of us suffer from a lack of mobility in the t-spine, meaning we have lost our intended range of motion as an adaptation to poor posture. This dysfunction affects the whole system and can cause compensations and pain in the low back, shoulders and neck.  

Luckily, there are some highly effective t-spine mobility drills that, with some time and adherence, can improve your posture and relieve pain as a welcome side-effect!

Add this thoracic spine extension drill into your warm-up or corrective exercise routine or do them daily… and don’t let prolonged sitting rob you of your right to great posture!

 

 

 

  1. Set up in a kneeling position with your knees on the ground and your elbows elevated on a bench, fingers interlaced behind your head.
  2. Slowly and with controlled breathing, sit your hips back toward your heels, maintaining some tension in your core.
  3. Relax your chest toward the ground.
  4. Slowly return to neutral.

Repeat for 2 sets of 8 reps.