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What is Sitting Disease?

Woman sitting desk
Spinal Intervention

Sitting Disease? Is that really a thing? As it turns out, we are doing far more damage to our bodies and longevity by sitting for hours and hours every day than even a daily jog can remedy. Sitting for 23 hours or more per week will increase our risk of heart disease by 64%. Sitting slows down our metabolism because we aren’t using large muscles (like our legs). This also stalls processes that are important for breaking down fats and sugars. Martha Grogan, a cardiologist at Mayo Clinic says, “For people who sit most of the day, their risk of heart attack is about the same as smoking.” No wonder heart disease is skyrocketing...we aren’t giving our bodies a chance to fight it!

What about the back and neck? Not good news here, either. When you sit for too long, the discs in your back can become distorted, affecting tendons and ligaments around them. Slouching can also strain your neck, causing shoulder and back pain.

The most alarming thing about sitting disease is that the often-recommended 30 minutes of exercise per day does not cancel out the ill effects of too much sitting through the rest of the day. So what can we do? Pay attention to the number of hours you spend sitting. Whether it’s in a car, at a desk, on a couch...those minutes and hours really add up. Try to incorporate standing during as many of your work hours as you can. Take phone calls while walking or standing. Have “standing meetings” instead of sitting around a conference table. Get a pedometer and aim for 10,000 steps per day. Follow the “20-8-2” rule. For every 20 minutes you spend sitting, stand for 8 minutes and move for 2 minutes. And yes, there’s an app for that. Download a reminder app such as Stand Up. Set it and follow it!

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