Sitting could be just as bad as smoking
IS SITTING the new smoking?
Lately there has been a lot of talk about how sitting down all the time is so bad for us.
Some doctors are saying that sitting down for long periods can be as bad for our health as smoking.
There are changes that take place in your body as soon as you sit down.
Electrical activity in your leg muscles shut off. Your body burns hardly any calories and the enzymes that help break down fat drop by up to 90%.
After two hours your good cholesterol drops by 20% and after long periods of sitting your insulin effectiveness drops and your risk of diabetes increases.
It has also been found that people with sitting jobs have twice the rate of cardiovascular disease as people with standing jobs.
On top of these negative factors when we sit down all the time our muscles are in unnatural positions and we end up shortening the muscles through our posterior chain – which leads to sore backs and inflexibility.
In the short term this can make it hard to do everyday tasks like getting in and out of bed, lifting and carrying things and in the long term can be a major cause for older adults having falls.
Sitting and shortening your posterior chain muscles can also lead to muscle injuries when exercising or playing sport.
Your muscles become so tight and inflexible and then you go running on to the sports field and tear a hamstring.
And it’s not just sitting down at work.
When we get home we are sitting down watching TV, on our phones, computers or tablets. We often sit for long times when we commute to work and then when we get a break we sit down to eat our lunch.
There are some easy steps we can take to help combat the negative effects of sitting.
Make sure your feet are pointing straight ahead and you don’t lock your knees straight. Pull your belly button in a little bit to activate your core muscles. Make sure your feet are flat on the floor.
When you are at work, you need to be standing up for at least 10 minutes every hour. Try to stand up when you are on the phone.
You can now buy desks that vary in height so you can stand up while you work.
After you commute to work or drive for a period of time, when you get out of the vehicle squeeze your bottom cheeks together. This will help realign your pelvic muscles.
Doing exercises and stretches that target these muscles like yoga or working out with a Resist It band will help as well.
Leanne Shorter is a registered personal trainer with Fitness Australia. You can contact her with any comments at her website at www.resistitbands.com.
STRAIGHTEN UP: Leanne Shorter will return in mid-March.