Do You Have Sitting Disease?

Do You Have Sitting Disease?

Do you have Sitting Disease?

Yes, that's what I wrote.  Sitting Disease.  


Sitting Disease” is a relatively new term created by the scientific community.  It describe how fat, sick and stressed out we North Americans are becoming because the majority of us sit all day.


While the term is not an officially recognized diagnosis in the medical community, it is now commonly used to metabolic syndrome and the ill-effects of an overly sedentary lifestyle.  


Sitting Disease is running rampant and making it's ill effects well known in technology advanced nations.  Worse yet, you might just have it.


Do You Have Sitting Disease?

  1. Do you work at a desk job?
  2. How long is your commute to and from your office?
  3. If you answered YES, then you are at risk of Sitting Disease.


In 2008 Vanderbilt University study published in The Journal of Epidemiology estimated that the average American spends 7.7 hours per day in sedentary behaviors such as sitting.  James Levine MR, PhD, wrote "Today, our bodies are breaking down from obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, depression, and the cascade of health ills and everyday malaise that come from what scientists have named sitting disease … Every two hours spent just sitting reduces blood flow and lowers blood sugar, increasing the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.” 


In fact, just today in a article called "Get Up. Get Out. Don't Sit." they referenced yet another study this time by Australian researchers (published in Diabetologia) found “The average adult spends 50 to 70 percent of their time sitting,” and that this "those people with the “highest sedentary behavior,” meaning those who sat the most, had a 112 percent increase in their relative risk of developing diabetes; a 147 percent increase in their risk for cardiovascular disease; and a 49 percent greater risk of dying prematurely — even if they regularly exercised."


This was also confirmed by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey which found that American's sedentary lifestyles are shortening life expectancy.


We’ve become so sedentary that 30 minutes a day at the gym may not counteract the detrimental effects of 8, 9 or 10 hours of sitting.

~ Genevive Healy, PhD.


Check out this article and info graphic produced by the CDC along with some other blogs I've written about the dangers of prologned sitting .  See:

  • Why Sitting All Day Might Be Killing You
  • Dangers of Prolonged Sitting

How Sitting Too Long Affects the Body

  1. Head | Blood closts that form after sitting too rigidly can travel to the brain, causing strokes.
  2. Neck | Fluid retained in the legs during the day moves to the neck at night and contributes to obstructive sleep apnea.
  3. Lungs | In individuals, who experience heart failyre, fluid first backs up in the lungs
  4. Heart | A sedentary lifestyle contributes to cardiovascular disease.  In people who suffer from heart failure and obstructive sleep apnea, fluid collects in the lungs and neck at night
  5. Arms | Physical activity reduces the risk of hypertension, or high blood pressure
  6. Stomach | Sitting too much contributes to obesity and colon cancer.  Enzymes in the blood vessels of muscles of muscles responsible for burning fat get shut off, and the body's method of metabolizing fuels such as glucose and lipids gets disturbed.  
  7. Legs | Fluid collects in the legs during sitting.  Walking helps pump it out before it causes problems.  (source CDC)


Not only is prolonged bouts of sitting hard on your posture, but as you can see, is clearly linked to chronic musculoskeletal pain and a reduced lifespan.  In fact, the British Journal of Sports Medicine said that "prolonged sitting should be considered within occupational health and safety policies and practices just like other elements of posture.”


Great post huh?  Super discouraging?  Well, tot to worry!  There is some good news!  


On the flip side research is also finding that simply cutting the amount of time spent sitting by 50% can offset the shortened life expectancy and actually increase it.  


In USA Today article called Take a Stand Against Sitting Disease, author Nancy Hellmich writes:

"it's [Sitting Disease] taking a toll on health. A recent study showed that if people spent less than three hours a day sitting, it would add two years to the average U.S. life expectancy. And research has linked sitting too much to increased risks of diabetes and death from cancer, heart disease and stroke.


Finding ways to get up out of your chair can help.  Taking 15 minute "stand-up" breaks, taking the stairs, walking at lunch are all ways you can add more activity.  BUT!  Yes, I said BUT.


It's important to note that simply adding exercise into your day does not counteract the negative cumulative effect of prolonged hours of sitting. While sitting less helps increases your life span, it won't improve postue, or alleviate musculoskeletal pain relief.   So to maximize the increase lifespan perspective (who wants to live a longer life in pain and with horrible posture?) and truly undo the damage to bodies we need to bring more activity to the body through a balanced postural position!  


That's where Corrective Exercise is a powerful weapon to combat Sitting Disease.

Here at Pain Free Posture we see the chronic musculoskeletal pain and poor posture ramifications of Sitting Disease on a daily basis.  We offer simple posture corrective exercises that you can do throughout your day at your desk to help combat the effects of Sitting Disease.  


So get up out of your chair and find ways to get more active throughout your day.  When combined with postural therapy you not only be combatting sitting disease, but you'll be working proactively to Achieve a Pain Free Life and Living!  


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