Author: Adrianna Aguilar
In 2013, Cision Newswire published findings from a survey showing most Americans sit an average of 13 hours a day. That’s more than half a day! (1) Large majority of that total sit time is spent at work, at a desk, and it accumulates to 65 hours a work week. Any activity or movement when done for long periods of time causes muscle imbalances, tightness and tension. In the case of sitting, your hip flexors can shorten, hamstrings can tighten and the lower back can tense. 65 hours of imbalance adds up to 3120 hours a year. Woah-that is time potentially tensing! Over the course of this blog and the next, you will learn more about the effects of sitting on the body and some tactics and stretches to assist in relieving those effects. As always, please see a certified Physical therapist or doctor before attempting any recommended stretches on your own. Everybody is different.
Effects of Sitting
Not only are the effects of sitting noted physically in the body, but they can also be noted emotionally within the body. Movement specialist and physical therapist, Lara Heimann, highlights that tightness is toxic not just on a metaphorical level, but also on a physiological and psychosomatic one. (2) Heimann discusses how sitting can create a blockage and increase congestion in the muscles and other connective tissues extending even into the vascular and lymph systems. Just in reference to the lower body, this blockage and congestion expresses itself as tightness and pain in the hip flexors, legs, and lower back. Lara argues that over time that congestion can express itself anywhere and the blocked areas, wherever they may be, have the ability to hold emotional toxins that unfold as pain, tension, achiness and tiredness. (2)
What is “Sitting Disease”?
Further supporting Heimann, in 2013, the American Medical Association recognized potential risks of extended periods of sitting, and the surrounding community began to use the term “Sitting Disease” to describe the negative effects of prolonged sitting. (1) The term describes the metabolic syndrome and ill-effects of an overly sedentary lifestyle. It is not a term that is often spoken or heard and many Americans and workers are unaware of its details.
How can you combat and contrast this increased disease? With this knowledge, you can explore tips and stretches to help overcome the sorrows of sitting. Our hope is always to help you learn and increase your awareness of your body and its movements. Check back soon!
1. Cision Newswire, (https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/new-survey-to-sit-or-stand-almost-70-of-full-time-american-workers-hate-sitting-but-they-do-it-all-day-every-day-215804771.html). PR Newswire Association LLC 2019.
2.HuffPost, (https://www.huffingtonpost.com/yanoula- athanassakis/chair-stretches-work_b_7054726.html) Verizon Media. 2019.