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Sitting Causes more Health Problems than Obesity

Back Pain

Sitting causes more problems than just back pain

Last month a 12 year study of over 300,000 Europeans was published by Cambridge University. It showed that a sedentary lifestyle leads to more health problems and earlier death than obesity. Further analysis of European data showed that a ‘sitting’ lifestyle contributed to the death of 676,000 people compared to 337,000 for obesity.

In short, sitting too much can shorten your life almost as much as smoking. Another recent scientific study stated that reducing the amount of time spent sitting can lengthen your life by two years. Studies continue to point to excessive sitting being linked to disability, heart disease and mental health issues even IF you exercise. An Australian study concluded that watching television for six hours a day will reduce life expectancy by 4.8 years. Globally, it is estimated that the average person sits 20% of their day.

Whilst it has always been known that that a lack of daily movement is also damaging, the surprising thing here is just how devastating it actually is. There has always been links between a lack of exercise and depression, mental health problems, back and neck disease and issues such as headaches but this study shows it is much more widespread.

The role of obesity was included in the Cambridge study and showed that people of all weight (and BMI) benefited from 20 minutes of brisk walking every day compared with those who did not. This was true of those who described themselves as thin as well as those classified as obese.
The benefits of activity are well known but we will outline these now in more detail. In previous newsletter articles I have written about the important role that activity has in stimulating nerves and blood flow. This puts your body into a different ‘Functional Mode’ (increases metabolism) and the act of ’Firing Up’ your powerful metabolic engines (the powerful muscles groups of the body) triggers spectacular changes to healing and the immune system.

It is common, as a chiropractor, to be consulted by clients experiencing severe pain and injury of which the cause is unknown. On investigation it becomes apparent that sitting in an office, driving or other such sedentary careers play a large role in this.

Previous studies have shown that exercise outside of a sitting role can help but this does not altogether remove the damage caused by sitting.

  • Do you think you sit too much?
  • Do you travel long distances to work in a car or bus?
  • Is your work primarily done sitting?
  • Does motion cause you pain?
  • Do you spend time regularly watching television?

If you answered yes to any of these question there is good news. The solutions are simple and fun and here are just a few.

If poor health is getting in the way of your mobility, seek help. Chiropractic care helps the joints stay flexible and reduces injuries. Millions of people can’t be wrong.

Walk more. Try taking a brisk walk during your lunch break or park farther from work or when shopping so you can walk the rest of the way.
Buy or borrow a dog. Dogs like us need exercise and it’s nice to have company.
For every hour of sitting get up at least once. Get a drink, use the bathroom, photocopier or fax… just get up and move.
Join a club such as running, yoga, hiking, tai chi or sports team.
Reduce television and home computer use. Try recording programmes to allow you to fast forward the advertising.

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