The effects of sitting

A few thousand years ago our ancestors made a giant step in evolution by climbing down the trees and learning to walk upright. This changed the future of the entire human race. In the last few decades though, it seems like we are working very hard to reverse that upright posture again. The main reason for that is our self-designed modern environment. We try to make life easy for us and avoid anything that is not comfortable. Unfortunately the number one thing we try to avoid is moving. We take our car for a 2 minute drive to avoid 6 minutes of walking, we take elevators, escalators and everything else that helps us avoid this nasty thing called movement. Sitting has replaced physical activity in our daily life. Be it in the car on the way to work and back, sitting in a chair all day or the hours people spend on the couch watching TV or playing video games. Our modern way of “moving” already has a giant impact on our health and it`s not a good one.

The biggest problem is that our bodies are not designed to live under such lazy conditions. We are supposed to be physical active. As a result we see more and more people that suffer from being overweight, having bad posture, having back pain and a ton of other problems that are associated with physical inactivity in general and prolonged sitting in specific.

So what exactly happens to our bodies when we sit around in our chairs and cars? Let`s have a closer look.

Once we sit down our hips are flexed for a prolonged period. Over time, that leads to an overstimulation of the hip flexor muscles in your body, especially if you add stress to the equation. Your hip extensors on the other hand will get shut down since they get extended all day long. When some muscles get overworked and others stop doing their work it will affect your posture. See, the position a joint depends on the forces that act upon it. If one group of muscles works hard and another one always gets elongated than your joint slowly starts to change its position. In our example that can lead to a strong anterior tilt of the pelvis. Hunching over the computer all day is also not helping your posture. That is why we quite often find a major dysbalance in the upper body and shoulder region as well. As a result your body will fall into all sorts of compensation patterns when confronted with other activities. Even your breathing can be effected. Still wonder why you have that nagging headache or that lower back pain? Speaking of which…..

Sitting also effects our spine in some other way than just posture. While we sit, our spine loses its natural arches. Without going into too much detail here, this can have a tremendous effect on your discs. A lot of back pain and in some cases even disc herniations can be a long term result of sitting in front of a desk.

So, as you see the sitting has quite some impact. And the list goes on. But we also want to give you some helpful advice, since not all of us can minimize sitting in our daily life.

What to do

Even though there is a lot of talking about ideal sitting posture, there is no such thing. And while you can make better choices in the way you sit, you should try to change your position regularly and make sure you get up and walk a couple of metres whenever you have the chance.

If you work on a computer bring the screen to eye level. That way you will look straight ahead instead of hunching over the keyboard.

And if you want to learn how to fight the effects of sitting and improve your posture and health, you should pay us a visit.  

The Crow Team