Whether you have a desk job or otherwise sedentary lifestyle, prolonged periods of sitting may be unavoidable for you. Chances are you are sitting as you read this article.
New research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine and other journals shows that sitting for long stretches can be detrimental to your health, contributing to obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and chronic kidney disease.
“The best defense — the only defense — is to move more,” says Dr. Keith Overland, president of the American Chiropractic Association.
The simple act of walking can help you get in shape and feel great. It’s easy, burns calories, reduces the risk of heart disease, tones muscles and increases cardiovascular endurance. Walking as little as 12 minutes a day can have a significant positive effect.
To get the most from your walk, move your arms freely in coordination with the opposite leg, walk “with purpose” to maximize your cardiovascular workout, don’t stoop your head or look down as you walk and don’t carry weights, as they’re better used as a separate part of your exercise regimen.
Aches and pains prevent many people from even taking that first step toward better health. Chiropractic physicians — experts in treating muscles and joints — offer not only a drug-free approach to alleviating pain through spinal adjustments and manipulation, they also promote overall health and wellness through nutritional counseling, rehabilitation and exercise and lifestyle recommendations. Search for a chiropractor in your area by using “Find a Doc,” the American Chiropractic Association’s online member database, www.acatoday.org/FindaDoc.
“When you do sit, make sure to do it correctly so you don’t ruin your posture or strain your muscles, leading to pain that could inhibit you from getting the activity you need,” suggests Dr. Overland.
To prevent problems, keep your feet on the floor or a footrest and don’t cross your legs. Your knees should be at or below the level of your hips. Adjust the backrest of your chair to support your low- and mid-back or use a back support, and avoid sitting in the same position for long periods of time.
Include frequent micro-breaks into your sitting time, stretching your neck, arms, wrists, back, and legs. Simple stretches include neck rotations, fist clenches, arm dangles, and shoulder shrugs.
Most of all, don’t sit for too long. Stand up and stretch your legs with a short walk about every 20 to 30 minutes. Avoid working through lunch.
Poor posture not only consumes more energy but also can lead to excessive strain on your postural muscles and may even cause them to weaken when held in certain positions for long periods of time. The postural muscles are prone to injury and back pain, but maintaining good posture, sitting properly and moving regularly can help you stay pain-free.
You can learn more healthy tips at www.ChiroHealthy.com.
While you may not be able to quit your desk job, you can prevail over inactivity and move yourself closer to better health.