Cut The Bull Sit!
Are you sitting down? I have some news for you. Stand up!
A recent study of older women (average age of 79) published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that people who are sedentary have shorter life spans and are more likely to have high blood pressure, a history of chronic disease, lower physical performance scores, and are more likely to have experienced a fall in the past 12 months. The researchers found that the most sedentary women were biologically 8 years older than their actual age.
Another study in the same journal studied dementia risk in sedentary people. They studied people who were carriers of dementia markers and those who were not. The subjects with the markers for dementia developed dementia more often, but being sedentary greatly increased the risk of getting dementia for those who did not have the markers.
On a non-scientific note, I was talking to a physical therapist about the types of patients he sees. He said that 90% of what he sees is posture related ailments, the majority of them from sitting.
This is scary stuff! But it also means we can take control of our health by addressing the problem.
The first step is obvious- avoid sitting all day long! If you have a desk job this can be a challenge, but make it a priority to get up and stretch, walk around, etc… at least once an hour but the more often the better.
The second option is to address your desk area. There are stand up desks, adjustable desks that go from standing to sitting, sitting on and exercise ball, practicing good office ergonomics, etc…
The third thing to do is to address your posture. This might mean being more aware of your body position or doing more stretches and foam rolling to problem areas.
The fourth thing to look at is your leisure time activities. If you are sitting all day at work, then coming home and sitting on the couch or in front of a computer the remainder of the day that will catch up to you one day.
If you need more in depth instruction on some of these things or you would like someone to come speak at your office and address these topics, I highly recommend Dr. Nancy Harden from Flexibility For Life. I call her the Muscle Whisperer, she does pretty amazing work.
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