Should we sit less? In recent surveys, it shows that the average person is sitting for 13 hours per day and sleeping for around 8 hours a day resulting in a sedentary lifestyle of around 21 hours a day! This is a worrying figure considering our bodies are naturally designed to be up-right.
So, what can we do to help this? Should we sit less? Our bodies are fuelled by movement as this activates all of our internal chemical mechanisms that help us to function correctly. If we think about how we feel after a good work out, we tend to feel more relaxed and pain free. This is because our body releases hormones known as ‘endorphins’ which interact and stimulate our brain.
Aches and pains from musculoskeletal injuries are often related to our static postures. For example, if we are sat working at our desks all day, our bodies will spend long periods of time hunched over causing some of our muscles to over work and over compensate for the muscles that aren’t being utilised correctly. This can make some of our muscles weaker and less effective when we need them – often resulting in an injury.
Being hunched over a desk can result in a ‘forward posture’, which is where our necks assume a leaning position that causes our centre of gravity to change. This influences the muscles we use and how we use them. For every inch of ‘forward head posture’, it can increase the weight of our heads by an additional 10 pounds! When you think that a stone is 14 pounds, that’s a significant amount of stress added to our muscles that are already overcompensating as it is.
Every time we use the wrong muscle groups for a specific action, we are risking an injury. We’re all aware of how we’re supposed to pick an item up off the floor – lift with our knees, not with our back. This is exactly so we don’t injure ourselves using muscles that aren’t designed for that purpose.
Sedentary lifestyles are one of the most common causes of injury because of the constant strains and demands we put on our bodies to hold us in an unnatural position.
To answer the question of should we sit less? Most certainly!
So, what can we do to help?
First and foremost, try to be more active. Even a quick 10-15 minute walk on your lunch breaks can significantly improve your well-being. Take several small breaks to stand up and stretch while you’re at your desk to help blood flow. If you can stand up while you work, even better! Start to think about including cardiovascular physical activity, strengthening and stretching exercises into your daily routine so that you can help reduce your chances of injury.
Having less of a sedentary lifestyle doesn’t take life changing efforts, but it can have life changing results.
If you would like to talk to one of our experts for advice and help, then you can use our online Ask A Physio service.
Alternately, if you are suffering with and injury, why not book in with one of our therapists and get to the root of the problem before it becomes more serious. You can do so by using our messaging service on Facebook or call us on 01282 453110.