Sitting Is Killing You?!

Contentious statement huh. It’s certainly an interesting thought.

The clever people at http://www.medicalbillingandcoding.org/sitting-kills/ tell us that people are now sitting for an astonishing average of 9.3 hours a day! I find that fact amazing, I’m not sure I could sit for that long in one day, but then I’ve never been a fan of sitting still for long, ask my husband. He’s always telling me to “just come and sit down”.

So whats the problem with sitting….observational studies suggest that it is linked to obesity and heart disease. This is pretty obvious as being inactive is a known factor in these chronic diseases. The interesting idea from studies is that sitting still is the problem as it slows your metabolism down, so even those who exercise regularly but then sit still for long periods will have a slower metabolism and consequently gain weight.  So sitting needs to be interrupted with periods of activity.

 Part of the problem from a Pilates perspective is that sitting places your body in a position thats just not good for your alignment. The more time you spend sitting, the tighter your hamstrings become.  The tighter your hamstrings, the more they pull the lowest curve out of the spine and tuck the tailbone under. You get lower back pain…..sound familiar?! If so come and see me and we’ll find some exercises to help 🙂

The other issue is all the curves and bends in the body affect your blood flow. Your blood likes to flow freely in a straight line. Sitting in a bent position for a long period of time stops it from being able to do this. And…..you say…..well this leads to blood cells bumping into things and getting damaged, which leads to plaques building up obstructing blood vessels which links us back to heart disease. Ouch.

The answer…either have a standing workstation (lovely idea and great if it works for you but it isn’t going to work for most people) or break up your sitting with lots of activity breaks – make a drink, walk up some stairs, go and chat to someone instead of emailing them…you get the idea. Standing instantly makes your body work harder and puts you in a better alignment, especially if you’ve been to my Pilates sessions and have learnt how to stand 🙂

Fascinating stuff. It certainly means those hours of baby rocking and sling walking combined with my inability to sit still is all good. So all of you sat down reading this…STAND UP!

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