Stand Up to Avoid “Sitting Disease”

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) – If you’re like most Americans, your daily routine includes many hours of sitting – behind a desk, in front of a computer or in a car. A 2008 Vanderbuilt University study  finds we spend more than half our time sitting. Health professionals say the typical sedentary lifestyle has led to more people suffering from “sitting disease,” or, debilitating back pain. 

A recent report in the Annals of Internal Medicine shows that even if you exercises for up to an hour each day, you can still develop it. 

The Joint Chiropractic of Columbia and Lexington says, besides pain, “sitting disease” can cause heart disease, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, cancer and diabetes.

Think of the spine as a layer of bricks and jelly donuts, Dr. Katie Newton and Dr. Tremain Singleton said, with the vertebrae being bricks and the discs being jelly donuts. Dr. Singleton said when the bricks and donuts are not aligned because you’re not sitting correctly, it can lead to inflammation. Too much wear and tear can cause a disc to slip.

Here are tips from The Joint to prevent developing “sitting disease”:

How to Prevent Sitting Disease

  • Work moving: hold walking meetings with colleagues instead of sitting in an office
  • Stand during phone calls or even lunch. You burn 30% more calories when standing.
  • Ping yourself – set your watch or alarm to remind you to stand up, stretch and take a short walk for a few minutes every hour.  Add a 15-minute walk to your morning, lunch break and night time routine.
  • Practice the 20-8-2 rule: For every 20 minutes of sitting at home or work, stand for eight minutes and move for two.
  • If budget allows, request a standing or kneeling desk or sit on a large exercise ball which helps you with core strength and posture
  • Do stretches at your desk

Easy Stretches to Do at Your Desk

  • Loosen legssit in chair, extend one leg out in front and hold for two seconds. Raise it as high as you can and hold again for two seconds. Repeat on each leg 15 times.
  • Relax back – sit on the edge of your chair, lower your head to your knees with your arms dangling loosely to the floor
  • Stretch back with squats – stand straight with knees bent and hands on hips. Lower your body as if you were sitting down in a chair but stop before your bottom touches the chair
  • Position body – in an “ergonomic” position with hands and wrists resting on desk, computer screen at eye-level, keeping your shoulders and arms from tensing up.
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