Many of us these days work in an office setting for long periods at a time. Most of us know it is not ideal. Most of us also know that it is better for us to get up every 10-15 min to have a small stretch, but how many of us actually do that?
Here at Dulwich Hill Chiropractic & Therapeutic Centre we like to encourage everyone to do the most ideal routines to reduce the risk of injury and ill health. Sometimes we can find it quite challenging to get the message across especially when it is really important. Like most things, if it is a gradual development of an onset we tend to brush it off. All of a sudden an injury or a condition develops and we suddenly have no idea why.
Here are just 4 conditions that can develop from sitting on a chair for long periods at a time:
1. Damage to the heart.
A research paper in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, shows that women sitting for long periods at a time are more at risk of developing Cardiovascular disease than those who sit for shorter periods of time. This is a due to the extended amount of sedation which restricts the amount of blood flow leading to clogging of the heart.
2. Loss of Brain function
This is due to the lack of oxygenated blood going into the brain. Without oxygen, the brain cannot metabolise glucose adequately which means it cannot power neurons effectively. This effects even the most basic of functions like planning and digestion.
3. Neck injury
The average human adult head weighs 5kg. Might not sound like much but, go and lift a 5kg weight with your arm stretched out for 1 minute. Your arm starts to ache. Imagine what you are doing to your neck when you start to relax and lean forward. You strain the muscles in the back of your neck. This can lead to many other compensations in the shoulders and upper back, and let’s not forget the headaches.
4. Spinal disc compression
Your spine is meant to be mobile and flexible. It should be allowed to expand and contract. Unfortunately sitting for long periods at a time takes away its ability to do so. So what tends to happen is that the spine and the muscles supporting it stiffen and slowly compress. This leaves you more prone to disc injuries like a herniated disc. It can also lead to other degenerative disorders like arthritis.
What to do from here:
Well here are a few tips on how to change the routine and the habit.
1. Ensure your desk is set to your ergonomically correct standard. If you can’t find the appropriate setting online, one of our chiropractors would be more than happy to help with advice.
2. Ensure you break up your day with sitting and standing. An adjustable desk or computer station is quite handy.
3. Exercise at your desk. Simple exercise like stretching the neck and shoulders can be so beneficial. Stand up and stretch your hamstrings and your lower back. Try doing this every 15minutes.
There are other things you can do as well but if you can concentrate on these 3 it will add years to your life. Why do I say this?….because research has time and time again shown the impact on chronic diseases due to sitting for long periods. Those chronic diseases can take years off your life.
SO GET MOVING!
For more advice in setting up a workstation or how to perform the most ideal stretches and exercises, you can contact, Nigel Luis or Tim Paynter from Dulwich Hill Chiropractic & Therapeutic Centre and pick their brains for a while.
Health Professional & Clinic manager