24 May Why sit when you can Stand!
There’s a plague in modern society: a sedentary lifestyle that leads to negative health outcomes ranging from heart disease, to chronic back pain, to obesity. People are starting to realise that regular movement and frequent standing are easy ways to combat this plague. And in fact, standing is better for spinal health and comes with a range of other benefits.
At Stability Health Center in Seattle, WA, we take pride in helping patients enhance their long-term health. That starts with providing sound advice on how to lead a better lifestyle. Here are some reasons why you should avoid sitting for long periods and instead, stand whenever possible:
- Lower risk of obesity: One of the top reasons not to sit for prolonged periods is because this behaviour is linked to weight gain and obesity. This is a growing problem in the U.S., where sedentary jobs are the norm. One study found that people less likely to gain weight spend 2.25 hours more per day standing!
- Better posture: This is one of the main reasons to use a standing desk. You can easily reduce eye strain, while supporting posture by not being hunched over your computer. Your back and neck will thank you, and you’ll feel generally better day-to-day.
- Less compression in the lumbar spine: Sitting is terrible specifically for the lumbar spine (lower back), due to the force of gravity from your torso. When these vertebrae are out of whack, nerve compression is common, leading to faulty signals being sent throughout the body, resulting in pain or chronic illness.
- Lower risk for sciatica: When you’re not putting additional pressure on the lumbar spine nerves, you have less chance of sciatic pain. In fact, one common remedy for sciatic pain is to simply walk around more, to strengthen abdominal and lower back muscles.
- Lower risk of hip pain: Long periods of sitting are likely to weaken your hip flexors. These are crucial to supporting all forms of movement. When they weaken, you’re more likely to suffer from hip and knee pain, making everything from walking to exercise hard.
- Better overall spinal health: If you’re not hunched over a computer all day, your spine is likely to be in much better shape overall. For those suffering from chronic back pain, more standing and frequent movement is a smart idea. Good spine health has a profound impact on your entire body.
- Increases energy levels: Those who stand more report less stress and fatigue than their sitting counterparts. Instead of reaching for another cup of coffee, consider taking a short walk around the office with a bottle of water.
- Increases strength: Standing more means that you tighten and tone muscles in the lower body. Ensure you’re standing with good posture to heighten this benefit. Walking extrapolates it as well, leading to better conditioning for muscles.
- Boosts productivity: When you’re less tired and more energetic, it’s not a surprise that you’ll be more productive. Get more done in less time by simply sitting less!
- Reduced mortality risk: It’s also not surprising that by reducing your risk for a variety of harmful conditions, you can also improve your life expectancy. They say sitting is the new smoking; standing may just be your anti-drug.
- Better blood flow to spinal nerves: Everyone knows that by getting moving, you improve blood flow. That goes for your spine too, meaning healing nutrients will flow to where they need to go. Better blood flow means better oxygenation throughout the day, leading to lower levels of inflammation and better nerve health.
- Better cervical spine health: Looking down all the time at your phone or your laptop is a major problem. By standing and keeping the spine in a neutral position, you greatly reduce the risk of developing “text neck.”
Still looking for lifestyle improvements you can make beyond just standing more each day? Visit a chiropractor! They can recommend the best way to fight chronic pain and enhance wellness.
Yours in Health
Dr Michael Bloom
Dr Michael Bloom has a wide and varying interest in what it takes to live a healthy and happy life. He has over 20 years experience as a chiropractor in Europe and Australia and has attended over 40 post graduate seminars and courses. Currently he has a particular interest in the declining posture of society and the health implications associated with poor posture.
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