Is SITTING the new *smoking*? (...Causing Back & Shoulder Pain) - Paul Gough Physio Rooms

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Is SITTING the new *smoking*? (…Causing Back & Shoulder Pain)

Here’s a habit that everyone of us is doing daily.

But is it a good one?

Sitting is something that was once done only when you needed a rest.

But not anymore.

Sitting has now almost become what I call a dangerous norm.

Whether in your car, at work, for dinner, for coffee, to chat, to watch TV, or to use the computer, we’re all constantly sitting. Think about your typical daily routine for a moment and you might realise that you spend an alarming number of hours in a chair. If it’s more than 9, you could have problems. And here’s why:

We were NOT designed to sit. Our bodies are not shaped to do so nor do they have the natural ability to cope with spending all of our time sat. In fact, sitting has become so frequent and so extensive that it’s very unlikely you’ll ever question how much of it you do.

It’s a case of everyone else is doing lots of it, so it must be ok. It could almost be very similar to the smoking boom of previous generations – “everyone did it” and nobody ever questioned it until the damaging health studies were produced, some years later.

The reality is you and I need to sit LESS. Fact: Even just spending an hour sitting, you reduce your bodies ability to burn fat by up to 90% as it slows down your bodies metabolism significantly. This can reduce the amount of good cholesterol in your body. And without good cholesterol you’re at a greater risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Excess sitting in wrong (slouched) positions is also the number one cause of back pain and neck and shoulder tension, for people who visit my Physiotherapy clinic. And they’re nearly always in their 40’s and 50’s. The pressure from poor sitting damages the lower back and can lead to things like sciatica and stiffness in neck joints.

All of these things combined are the reasons why that you shouldn’t be surprised if your work place introduces a standing desk area. I’m serious, too. They’re really effect at allowing you to carry on with your work but reduce impact through your spine significantly.

Here’s a few other tips too: Next time yo have a meeting, can you take a walk and do it ? If you need to talk for a while on your mobile, go for a walk outside to do it. And if you’re meeting up with friends for a coffee this weekend, find a nice park or sea side and take a stroll with a take away cup in hand (not too many though – remember caffeine is only helpful in small doses).


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Paul Gough
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