Has anyone ever realized how often we are in the sitting position nowadays? I know a few jobs where you don’t sit at all such as teachers, nurses, or even stay-at-home parents, etc. But even on the weekends how often do you find yourself sitting down?
It hadn’t occurred to me how much I am in the sitting position until I started feeling a lot of neck pain AND when I listened to a podcast titled: “Undoing the Damage of Chronic Sitting”. A while ago I subscribed to a podcast called The Art of Manliness—yes I know I am a female but Brett McKay and his guests discuss some seriously great topics, i.e. the one about chronic sitting. Brett invites Kelly Starett, author of Desk Bound and creator of www.mobilitywod.com, onto his show to talk about the damage we’re doing to our bodies and how to help reverse these damages.
I won’t go into the podcast detail, you can check it out either on iTunes or Google Play Music, but he made an interesting point. The act of sitting isn’t horrible, it’s the fact that most people who have 9-5 jobs sit for such prolonged periods of time. So much in fact that the spine, hips, and muscles lose the mobility and flexibility they naturally possessed. Frankly he’s right, human beings are not evolved to be sedentary for more than 4-6 hours a day.
I’ve been working in an office for the past 7 months and recently I acquired a part time job teaching online. It dawned on me that these are my first jobs, ever, where I have had to sit in front of monitors for either an 8 hour shift or the amount of time to teach classes. Before this I was walking for 12 hour shifts at a hospital, before that I was a waitress— on my feet all day long. As much as I had complained about being on my feet, I’d much rather have that than be sitting all day now. The muscle tension in my neck occasionally causes dull headaches; it’s really annoying.
Now, my discomfort could be a combination of poor posture from sitting as well as sleeping— I probably need a new or different pillow. Regardless, it’s crazy to me when I think about how I sit ALL day! Thus I have added a few goals and habits in addition to my normal fitness routine: to walk, stand, or do some type of movement when I can at work and I have been stretching twice a day.
- At work: every hour I make it a point to either do a lap around the office, stretch in my cube, or go outside for a bit of air. No more than 5 minutes usually, sometimes I can get away with 10 mins.
- On weekends: I’m usually up and about anyway but when I need to do random stuff on the computer I may stand and adjust the monitor. I’ll also go for more walks during the day around the neighborhood.
Again, sitting is not deathly. A piece of chocolate will not add 5 pounds to your weight. It’s about moderation and just being conscious of your body. There are instances where sitting cannot be avoided—just be aware of instances you can control. I still sit and watch TV on the weekends or after work, I don’t feel guilty about it. But I am also making the conscious effort to incorporate more movement when I have the opportunity to
Not only is it good to be aware of how often you sit but of HOW you sit. Keep an eye out for my next post on EatShootLift!