We all know that not getting exercise is detrimental to our bodies, but have you heard about the sitting disease?
This term refers to the litany of negative health effects associated with a sedentary lifestyle–especially for those who work in an office. Aside from increasing the individual’s risk for heart disease and diabetes, prolonged sitting can also cause back pain and even mental health issues like depression.
For this reason, people who are constantly working at their desks could especially benefit, both physically and psychologically, from much-needed back stretching exercises at the hands of a certified stretch practitioner.
The Dangers of Sitting
On the Mind
Healthy body, healthy mind, right? That old saying seems to hold true when we see the results of inactivity on the way our brain functions.
Several major educational institutions have researched the connection between a sedentary lifestyle and certain psychological conditions.
These studies have found that spending six hours seated leads to higher scores for psychological distress tests. Prolonged sitting has also been tied to depression, anxiety, and a general sense of reduced well-being.
On the Body
The psychological effects of sitting are dangerous, yet subtle enough that many people won’t realize the toll their lifestyle is taking on their mind. This is not the case for the body.
When you sit all day, your spine takes an unnatural position, increasing the strain on your neck and putting pressure on your lower back.
Over time, this leads to joint inflammation, weak legs, and weight gain. These factors add up to potentially serious physiological stresses that will negatively impact the mobility and flexibility throughout your life.
The Big Picture
Now that you know the harmful effects of sitting, it’s scary to think about the fact that most Americans spend about 11 hours sitting every day. This pattern is leading to widespread serious health issues. Infact, about 300,000 deaths take place every year due to a combination of inactive lifestyles and poor dietary habits.
Additionally, people who are 35 years and older who lack physical activity comprise about 20% of these deaths.
What’s worse; only a mere 6.5% of American adults are able to meet the minimal physical guideline requirements to work a full-time job.
This is a large-scale problem that you prevent at a smaller scale with some mild physical activity like back stretching exercises.
What Can You Do About It?
Start with Physical Activity
Thankfully, the dangers of sitting and inactivity can be prevented! By moving your body more during the day, you can steer clear of the ill effects of the sitting disease.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should start training for a marathon.
However, it does mean that you should start participating in cardio-physical activities that are of moderate-intens`ity for about three to five days a week for at least 150 minutes (two and a half hours) each week.
If this isn’t possible, another option would be to take part in vigorous-intensity cardio-physical activity for 75minutes (one hour and 15 minutes) each week that’s spread within three to five days.
Moreover, a combination of eight to 12 repetitions of strength-training exercises should also be incorporated into your regular fitness routine at least twice each week.
Protect Your Back
Physical activity is a great start but that won’t alleviate the back pain and tension you’ve accrued over hours of sitting.
In a long-enough timeline, not only do you start feeling backaches you’ve never felt before, but your posture also starts to change.
The first thing you should do is be aware of your posture as you sit, keeping your spine straight, your shoulders tucked back, and your head in an upright position.
The next thing you need to do is stretch. Because sitting abnormally distributes weight to parts of your back that are not designed to sustain that position, tension builds, deteriorating the muscles that support the spine. The best way to alleviate that tension is with regular back stretching exercises.
Stretching serves two crucial purposes:
- Reduces tension which leads to a decrease in pain and an increase in flexibility. This ultimately improves your mobility and your range of motion.
- Strengthens the supporting muscle structures that surround the spine, giving you the stability you need to prevent future injuries.
Conclusion: Start Doing Back Stretching Exercises!
Doing regular back stretching exercises with the help of a certified practitioner is one of the best ways to prevent the negative effects of the sitting disease. A combination of regular exercise and assisted stretches won’t only improve your physical state, but also the way your brain works!
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