Continuing on with our series…. Last week we discussed Sugar is the Devil. This week let’s review sitting. Indeed, we are physiologically designed to be upright and biped. Our spine has 3 primary curves, cervical, thoracic, and lumbar, which form a spring like structure absorbing the shock of walking and running. In addition, we have intervertebral discs in between our vertebrae that also act as shock absorbers.
Unfortunately, when we sit we lose our good posture and rather than having 3 curves in the spine, we tend to lean forward, roll our shoulders forward and up, and create one big C curve rather than S curves. While we sit our hip flexors, the muscles responsible for raising the knee up are constantly contracting and therefore even when we go to stand, they remain tight. This then compounds lower back problems because we lose our good lumbar curve AND the hip flexor muscles are pulling on the lumbar vertebrae because they are tight. In chiropractic college we learned a simple formula: the resistance of the spine equal R2 + 1 where R is the number of curves in the spine. With great posture this formula equals 32 + 1 = 10. As we lose our curves this number decreases and so does the resistance of the spine.
Sitting has even been linked to increased mortality in several studies. In fact, in a recent study a Australia found that people who sit for 11 hours or more a day are 40 percent more likely to die over the next three years, regardless of whether they are physically active or not.
Wow, so what to do. At WSC we don’t just discuss the problem we discuss the solution. So here are some ways to overcome your numb butts.
• Set a timer on your desk so that every hour on the hour it goes off. Take a walk to the water cooler or around the office or your house. Studies show that you can’t be effective anyway for more the 90 minute chunks of time without taking a break.
• Create a standing work station. When working from home, I often put my laptop up on the kitchen island which is the perfect height for standing at my laptop. If you Google “standing work stations” you will find numerous options for purchase for your home or office. Perhaps this is an expense your company is willing to pay if it makes you a more effective employee. My mama taught me ‘you don’t ask, you don’t get.’
• Cluster your time on the computer. Rather than sitting at the computer all day, can your cluster your computer based activities into time periods so that you aren’t bent over a computer all day long.
• For some it is inevitable your job requires that you sit. So you have to offset this. What better way than to learn the functional fitness model of exercise that we teach in our fitness center.
• Purchase a foam roller, we sell them at our office. Patients LOVE foam rollers and use them daily at home to ‘roll out’ their spine like you are kneading bread.
West Functional Chiropractic is a Total Wellness Center and strong supporter of