Stop Sitting! Get Up and Move!
Low back pain is a common occurrence in today’s world. About 80% of the population will have low back pain in their lives. At this very instance, 20-30% of us currently have back pain. A big reason for low back pain in today’s world is due to desk jobs and computer use. Our bodies were not made to sit at desks all day, but this is the daily routine for many. Any time the body is forced to do something it wasn’t designed for, bad things happen. Prolonged sitting just isn’t good for us.
So what is the problem with prolonged sitting? First off, research shows that sitting in a slumped position leads to laxity of the ligaments around our spine. This adaptation happens after only 20 minutes of sitting! These ligaments help prevent excessive motion in our low back. If they become too “loose”, it could lead to a potential low back injury. Another problem with prolonged sitting is increased pressure on the lumbar discs. Sitting places more compression on our lumbar discs, and could result in an injury such as a disc herniation. Finally, and perhaps most surprisingly, is that people who sit more tend to die sooner than those who don’t! That’s right, people who sit for 6+ hours/day actually die about two years sooner than those that sit for less than 3 hours/day!
Low back pain? Disc herniations? Early death? Oh my! While sitting can be a big problem, we have ways to get around it. The obvious answer is to stand as much as possible. Look into getting a standing desk for work/home. If that’s not an option, take frequent standing micro-breaks. Stand up while on the phone or while using a tablet. Drink a lot of water (not soda or juice), so you’ll take frequent bathroom breaks. If you’re sitting for over an hour straight, it’s waaaay too long. Finally, when you do have to sit, make sure to keep a nice curve in your low back, as this will take pressure off the discs. Just remember that our muscles and joints were made to move, not to sit in a desk all day. Alright, this article is over so stand up! Your low back will thank you!