It's inevitable. You're going to sit at some point during the day. Whether it's at a desk for your job, long road trips in the car, or just lounging at home after a long day, sitting for long periods of time can have lasting effects on the body and your overall health. Today we're going to outline a couple of negative effects of sitting, and some simple fixes you can do to prevent long term complications.
1) Sitting for long periods can increase your chance for clots in the lower extremities. When you shit down, it's very difficult for blood to be pumped back towards your heart. Your heart pumps out oxygenated blood to the rest of the body through your arteries. It also receives de-oxygenated blood back through your veins. When you sit down, it puts pressures on veins that normally would carry blood back to the heart. This results in the pooling of de-oxygenated and slow moving blood in the legs.
Now, other than the obvious threat of a smaller amount of blood getting back to the heart, we also need to highlight that the slower blood moves, the more likely it is to clot. Pooling of blood in the legs, creates slower moving blood in the legs, which means the legs are more susceptible to clot.
Solution: Get Up and Move Frequently! Contrary to popular belief, just because you exercise after work, doesn't mean you won't be affected by the negative effects of sitting. Of course exercise is great for us, but it doesn't do anything in the moment, as blood is pooling in our legs when we sit. This is why, it is important to move for about 10-15 minutes every hour so kick start your circulation and keep your blood flowing back to the heart.
2) Sitting Can Negatively Impact Your Blood Pressure. Let's use a visual for this one. Imagine you're holding two garden hoses in each hand. Both hoses are being fed the same amount of water. With your right hand, you hold the hose with a light grip. With your left hand, you squeeze the hose as hard as you can.
What would happen? Of course, the water would flow more efficiently out the hose with the relaxed grip. But what happens internally to the water in the hose being gripped tightly? The harder the grip, the more pressure that the water is under, and the harder the water has to work to reach the open end of the hose.
Veins and arteries are the exact same way. When we're standing and moving around, the "hoses" are not kinked which allows for the easy flow of blood around the body. When we kink our "hoses", i.e add pressure to them through sitting, the blood flow has to work harder to navigate the body. Can you imagine what happens to your blood pressure when you remain sitting for 4-5 hours at a time? Not even exercise can undo that.
Solution: Get up and move! 10-15 minutes every hour on the hour. You may say "I just have too much going on!". To which I would say, take your next phone call on your cell phone, and walk around as you talk. Your health is important.
3) This is our most important one: Sitting Can Wreak Havoc on Your Spine Health and Communication Pathways.
When you sit down, are your core and back muscles performing normally or abnormally? When you hunch over a keyboard, is that a natural position for your head and neck to be in? When you rest one of your elbows on a tabletop for hours at a time, is that healthy for your back? Get the picture?
"What's the big deal? It's just the spine..."
The big deal IS. That your spine is the highway that connects all of your body's functions to your brain. When you're aligned properly, communication pathways remain open which allows for efficient communication head to toe. When you're misaligned, your neurological pathways become jammed and you start losing your ability to function efficiently. Sometimes, it even leads to complete disruptions of function called neurological interference.
You spend a lot of time on your phone. On average, your neck and head are in a fixed position, bent forward over a screen. Over time, your neck is going to become sore after being held in a position that it normally isn't designed to be in. After a while, your muscles will ache, you'll start feeling pain/stiffness in the vertebrae, and you may even get a headache or "pinching" across your trap muscles.
Would you consider headaches to be normal? I wouldn't... In other words, because your cervical (neck) spine is misaligned, it's becoming inflamed from the additional pressure. The inflammation is now pinching off nerves that control sensation, which ultimately causes the headaches.
Symptoms due to neurological interference are much more pertinent than you think.
Solution: Get to Your Nearest Chiropractor!
Chiropractors specialize in spine alignment and can relieve pain and inflammation from neurological pathways so your body is functioning at it's best.
These 3 ailments/conditions are just the tip of the iceberg. Make sure you start applying some of these changes to your life today! Otherwise you'll find out first hand why "sitting, is the new smoking".