Atlantis Physical Therapy

Tip of the Week - March 25, 2016

The Health Hazards Of Sitting

We know sitting too much is hard on our bodies, and most of us intuitively feel a little guilty after a long TV binge. But what exactly goes wrong in our bodies when we park ourselves for nearly eight hours per day, the average for a U.S. adult? Many things, say four experts, who detailed a chain of problems from head to toe.

Organ Damage

HEART DISEASE
Muscles burn less fat and blood flows more sluggishly during a long sit, allowing fatty acids to more easily clog the heart. Prolonged sitting has been linked to high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol, and people with the most sedentary time are more than twice as likely to have cardiovascular disease than those with the least.

OVERPRODUCTIVE PANCREAS
The pancreas produces insulin, a hormone that carries glucose to cells for energy. But cells in idle muscles don't respond as readily to insulin, so the pancreas produces more and more, which can lead to diabetes and other diseases. A 2011 study found a decline in insulin response after just one day of prolonged sitting.

Muscle Degeneration

MUSHY ABS
When you stand, move or even sit up straight, abdominal muscles keep you upright. But when you slump in a chair, they go unused. Tight back muscles and wimpy abs form a posture-wrecking alliance that can exaggerate the spine's natural arch, a condition called hyperlordosis, or swayback.

TIGHT HIPS
Flexible hips help keep you balanced, but chronic sitters so rarely extend the hip flexor muscles in front that they become short and tight, limiting range of motion and stride length. Studies have found that decreased hip mobility is a main reason elderly people tend to fall.

FOGGY BRAIN
Moving muscles pump fresh blood and oxygen through the brain and trigger the release of all sorts of brain- and mood-enhancing chemicals. When we are sedentary for a long time, everything slows, including brain function.

Proper Vertibrae Alignment

STRAINED NECK
If most of your sitting occurs at a desk at work, craning your neck forward toward a keyboard or tilting your head to cradle a phone while typing can strain the cervical vertebrae and lead to permanent imbalances.

SORE SHOULDERS AND BACK
The neck doesn't slouch alone. Slumping forward overextends shoulder and back muscles as well, particularly the trapezius, which connects the neck and shoulders.

Bad Back

INFLEXIBLE SPINE
When we move, soft discs between vertebrae expand and contract like sponges, soaking up fresh blood and nutrients. But when we sit for a long time, discs are squashed unevenly. Collagen hardens around tendons and ligaments.

Disc damage - inherniated discs

DISC DAMAGE
People who sit more are at greater risk for herniated lumbar discs. A muscle called the psoas travels through the abdominal cavity and, when it tightens, pulls the upper lumbar spine forward. Upper-body weight rests entirely on the ischial tuberosity (sitting bones) instead of being distributed along the arch of the spine.

Leg Disorders

POOR CIRCULATION IN LEGS
Sitting for long periods of time slows blood circulation, which causes fluid to pool in the legs. Problems range from swollen ankles and varicose veins to dangerous blood clots called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). SOFT BONES Weight-bearing activities such as walking and running stimulate hip and lower-body bones to grow thicker, denser and stronger. Scientists partially attribute the recent surge in cases of osteoporosis to lack of activity.

MORTALITY OF SITTING
People who watched the most TV in an 8.5-year study had a 61 percent greater risk of dying than those who watched less than one hour per day.

THE RIGHT WAY TO SIT
If you have to sit often, try to do it correctly. As Mom always said, "Sit up straight."

Below the first picture shows us how not to sit.

Bad sitting posture
Good sitting posture


The next picture shows us some exercises that will keep us limber and strengthening our bodies to keep up with the strain of sitting.

Exercises