An argument can be made that sitting is the new smoking in terms of the long-term health impact. It’s an assertion shared by Martha Grogan, a cardiologist from the Mayo Clinic, who says the risk of heart attack for someone sitting most of the day is the same as someone who smokes.
Frequency of Sitting
People often sit because they need to be in front of a computer or at a desk to do their work. Yet the human body is designed for movement. Studies suggest people sit, on average, anywhere from 7 to 15 hours per day.
Added Lower Back Stress
Roughly 80 percent of the U.S. population already experiences some type of lower back pain at any given time. According to Los Angeles spine surgeons, sitting contributes to the problem by placing added stress on discs and joints that support the spine.
Finding Reasons to Stand
The remedy for “sitting disease” is to find more reasons to stand. Even making an effort to stand for 20 minutes or so each day can help improve circulation and stretch important muscle groups. Daily standing can be increased by:
- Standing on the commute to work when possible
- Walking during lunch breaks
- Going for walks before or after work
Finding a Sitting/Standing Balance
It’s not practical–or healthy–to stand all day. Some relaxation is fine and necessary to give your muscles and joints time to rest. Instead, opt for a balance of movements and positions by:
- Getting regular exercise on weekends or after work
- Shifting positions when you do sit
- Tracking your steps throughout the day for increased motivation to get up
Prolonged sitting can be reduced by taking frequent breaks or getting up to stand and stretch. A study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that sit-to-stand products, such as adjustable height desks, can minimize sitting without reducing productivity.
If you’re experiencing low back pain and conservative measures aren’t providing adequate pain relief, it’s time to speak with a board-certified spine surgeon about other treatments including non-fusion and motion-preserving spine surgery. Learn more about your options for pain relief by calling (310) 828-7757 and speaking with a spine specialist today.