Can’t Sit Still?

That would be me. I often liken myself to a toddler in a sense; when I’m on a plane, I simply have to sit in the aisle seat as I’m up at least one or two times each hour for no other reason than I absolutely hate to sit.  (Yes, I’m that person.  And have no qualms about it, either!).

Years ago, I read an article by Juan Carlos Santana, which he called, “Sitting:  The Root of All Evil” and in it, he discusses many of the health problems that develop as a result of sitting too much and not enough movement.

We’re animals.  We’re meant to move.  Not meant to sit.  It’s such an unnatural position and doing so day after day, year after year will absolutely create a situation where the body adapts to this stimuli we present to it, and that is not a good thing.

Shortened hip flexors, slouchy shoulders, tight chest muscles, weak back muscles, a mushy core and an overextended (chicken-esque) neck are just a few of the musculo-skeletal adaptations that result.   And these are just the foundations.  After that we can add headache (sometimes due to the neck straining forward along with staring at the glare of the computer screen), carpal tunnel, nerve pain…and so on, and so on.

The American College of Sports Medicine also reports that ‘prolonged sitting significantly reduces lipoprotein lipase which plays an important role in the body’s ability to process fats.  This leads to an increased risk of cardiovascular mortality, insulin resistance, diabetes and obesity’.

What to do?

As much as you can, avoid sitting!

  • Balance on a ball!  If your office is relaxed, this might be an option.
  • If your workplace is more conservative, perhaps a standing desk could be arranged.
  • At the very least, make sure you’re set up correctly by an ergonomic specialist.
  • Get up and move!   Even if you have a horrible chair and equally appalling desk, getting up to stretch throughout the day and making sure you’re engaged in activity away from work to counteract all the sitting will help offset the damage.
  • At home, squat, rather than sitting- just like what a child might do.

Remember, chairs are not Paleo!