SITTING IS THE NEW SMOKING
by Sarah Bricker
Which of the objects in the picture above could be decreasing your lifespan? You may be drawn to the cigarettes, alcohol, or junk food, because history has taught the modern world that there are consequences to their use. Today, I want to draw your attention to the object in the picture that is equally as dangerous, but a more silent culprit – the chair.
For most of us, we wake up in the morning, sit on the toilet, and then sit at the breakfast table before we sit in our cars as we drive to work. We sit at our desks, and get up only to go sit on the toilet and sit in the cafeteria for lunch. After we sit at work some more, we sit in the car to drive home where we sit at the dinner table, and conclude our day by sitting on the couch to watch television or read a book in order to recover from a full day of sitting. Although our bodies bear a design that bends at the hip and knees to be conducive to sitting, excessive sitting and a sedentary lifestyle are showing to be severely detrimental to our health.
In 2010, the American Cancer Society published a study of over 120,000 individuals from 1993-2006 in the American Journal of Epidemiology. The research showed that adults who sit over 6 hours per day are 94% more likely to die during the time period study than those who were active throughout the day. Because of the results of this study, sickness resulting from excessive sitting is now being called “Sitting Disease”. Sitting Disease has been linked to liver disease, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, hypertension, cancer, stroke, diabetes, DNA disorders, pulmonary embolisms, varicose veins, muscle degeneration, obesity and more; one may also begin to experience pain in the feet, knees, hips, back and neck. In 2008, researcher Marc T. Hamilton, PhD also found that these results did not vary among those who maintain a regular exercise routine after their long periods sitting.
The next question is, “Are you past the point of no return?”
Test your current health score by clicking here, and performing the same, simple test that was done in a Brazilian study published in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology by Dr. Claudio J. Araujo in 2012. The results of this study also showed a high correlation between the test score, and longevity/quality of life.
One of the greatest factors that contribute to the aches and diseases associated with sitting disease, is the distress of an internal structure in our bodies called fascia. Fascia is a sheet of tissue that insulates muscles and nerve endings. It can manifest in negative ways if it is neglected, but it wants to be led. Fascia responds negatively or positively based on the type of long duration and low intensity stimulation provided. Therefore, if your score was lower than you hoped, there are things that you can do to improve it! One way that to combat the damage of “sitting disease” is to stand for 5 minutes every half hour (don’t go a full hour). Another way is to get a standing desk for your workspace! If you are not self-employed, ask your chiropractor to write a letter of recommendation to your HR Department to fulfill this request). Start taking the stairs instead of the elevator! Go for a walk on your breaks! Sit on an exercise ball instead of a desk chair! Do 20-30 squats before and after you sleep! Half your body is legs, it’s time to start using them!
Yours in Health,
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