We live in an age of convenience and ease, where little needs to be done to ensure survival. We no longer need to hunt or gather to obtain sustenance, but instead find ourselves sitting for long periods of time. It is estimated that Americans spend more than 7 hours per day in the sitting position.
This life of ease, while appealing at first glance, has a detrimental impact on our health.
A sedentary lifestyle negatively impacts your health in a variety of ways, and has been termed the “sitting disease.”
Negative Impact of Sitting
Although a large amount of exercise can help to counteract the impact of sitting too much, if an individual is sitting for more than 10 hours each day, their health risks increase significantly. Some of these health risks include obesity, heart disease, type II diabetes, and even cancer.
An additional problem associated with sitting too long is increases in back and neck problems. A hump can even develop on the back of an individual’s neck due to sitting and staring at screens all day. This neck hump is also known as the “tech neck.”
An average human head weighs about 12 pounds in the proper position, but as a person leans forward just 15 degrees, this increases the strain on a person’s body, making the head feel more like 30 pounds. As the forward incline of the head increases to 60 degrees, their head begins to feel like 60 pounds.
Another negative impact of sitting is pelvic pain and dysfunction. By sitting for long periods of time, the core loses its strength and pelvic muscles become dysfunctional. This dysfunction can lead to pelvic pain, fecal and urinary incontinence, hip and lower back pain, and pain that begins to radiate throughout your lower limbs.
Remedies for Sitting Disease
There are many changes that an individual can make to help counteract these negative effects. While many might exercise to help counteract the negative impact of sitting, many more have not adopted this vital routine. It is recommended that adults engage in 150 to 300 minutes of moderate aerobic movement or 75-150 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise per week. This is in addition to 2-3 days of strength training exercises every week.
By making exercise a part of your daily routine, and looking for different opportunities to get outside, walk, or take breaks from sitting every hour, you can help to limit the negative impact that sitting has on your health.
If an individual has not implemented different habits and routines to counteract this disease early in life, it is never too late. Unfortunately, as you age you will lose more muscle tone, making it even more vital to start strength training now.
Remember, when beginning any new exercise regimen, consult with your doctor to ensure you are healthy, and work with a professional to make sure you are safe.
If you are already experiencing some of the dysfunction and symptoms discussed, it can be beneficial to employ the services of different experts. Experiencing any pelvic pain or dysfunction can be difficult. By meeting with a physical therapist that specializes in the pelvic floor, they can help teach exercises and provide different tools to help you repair your pelvic floor, regain your strength, manage your pain, and gain control over your body.
By utilizing the power of exercise and the expertise of different professionals like physical therapists, the effects of our society’s sedentary lifestyle can begin to be alleviated. It is necessary to take big actions if you have lived a life of non-physical leisure.
Only through your willingness to make changes will you begin to counteract and fight the negative impacts of sitting.