Have you heard that sitting is the new smoking?
As much as I agree that too much sitting is harmful to the body, sitting cannot be compared to smoking, my friends!
That is because, the body is designed and needs to sit (not necessarily on a chair) but it doesn’t need cigarettes!
Can you imagine if we would stop sitting!? Mmm, not a good idea…
But surely you can imagine not touching a cigarrette in your life and I hope you won’t.
Let’s compare sitting to sugar: is sugar a problem, doesn’t the body need sugar to survive? Sugar becomes a problem only when we consume too much of it for a long period of time. No difference when it comes to sitting.
Maybe we could say that ‘sitting is the new diabettes‘? What do you think?
It is a fact that we are now doing more sitting than ever but the problem isn’t in the sitting itself but the amount of time we spend sitting statically in the same position. That together with awkward postures and the lack of movement is what puts the spine at risk.
Now, how do we tackle this sitting problem? The solution isn’t stop sitting because we need to sit, neither are expensive chairs or standing all day long.
The solution is a variety of sitting, standing and moving just like nature intended and therefore it is key that we understand how our physical body is designed to function.
Do ergonomic chairs and standing tables help? To an extend they do but if you use your body in a way that causes strain (eg. poor postural habits) then there is no chair or table in the world that will help with pain and aches.
In an office setting, people go from sitting at the desk, to sitting in a meeting room, to sitting in the coffee area, to sitting for lunch, back to sitting at the desk, then sit in the bus/tube/car home, to sit in front of the TV. Then at the table for dinner then to lie in bed, day in day out.
The body is designed to move in all directions that is meant to and if it doesn’t it will lose the ability to move with ease and it will hurt!
If you work in an office or sit for long hours you need to stand up, stretch and move a good few minutes, every 20 or so minutes. You can also move while you are sitting – watch my videos in youtube (Posture Queen).
Something that would help, would be to have a couple of different chairs that allows you to change sitting positions every so often during the day as well as a standing desk.
But don’t forget you have stairs that you can choose to use instead of the lift. Also escalators, don’t mean just stand there, nothing stops you from moving up/down.
It is believed that going to the gym for an hour or two after work once or twice a week or even every day doesn’t compensate for the amount of hours one spend inactive during the day. This makes sense because if we look at movement as food for the body and brain then just like the food we eat and the water we drink, we don’t do it once a day after work, do we?
You can help yourself, it’s your body and your responsibility.
Do you always need to sit down in meetings (or the whole time), do you really need to sit down when you go for a coffee break, do you really need to take the lift to go 1, 2 or 3 floors down/up, do you really need to stay still on a escalator?
Create opportunities to move, there are so many around you!
There is so much you can do for yourself during the day to stay away from aches & pains – follow my posts for ideas and inspiration.
There is, however another side to this: office culture needs to change too to accommodate the need for movement in offices and I explain that on this blog post ‘Please (don’t) take a seat’
Also, note that I come to offices and schools with a posture training session where I teach how the body is designed to function and how you can prevent and manage back problmes. I also teach how you can help your children to cultivate good postural habits without mentioning the word posture or saying things like ‘sit up straight’.
Keep moving, your body will thank you.
(Please leave me a comment and if you liked it share it)