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5 reasons to NOT sit down!!!

February 6th, 2019 by Phil Brown

 

Unfortunately, most of us spend a large portion of our time on planet earth plonked on our backsides. This is undoubtedly due to the sedentary nature of modern work and the rise of the computer, but we learn a bum-based lifestyle from a terribly early age when we start school. We carry out most activities there from a chair, apart from break time and PE classes. Add to that the hours and hours of video gaming, social media-ing or TV watching that a huge percentage of the young engage in and you have a whole generation of spines suited ideally to office work…………

Depressing? It’s enough to make you want to sit down, but here are 5 reasons NOT to!

 

1. YOUR SPINE WILL THANK YOU

When we sit, we are not standing. Yes, obvious, but the weight of our upper body has to be supported somewhere and that becomes hard on the spine as the lower back takes the weight of the torso and the upper back takes that of the arms, as they tap away on that keyboard to meet a tight deadline. Meanwhile, the cervical spine – neck to most of us – strains to hold the head in a balanced position.

When we stand, we are designed so that the load of our own bodies is held in a wonderful tension that spreads from our feet up to top of our heads. Granted, many of us stand and move like we were stored in a small drawer wet and left to dry there, but standing and moving is still better than sitting. In most computer based jobs, the lower back becomes the workhorse in a seated position that looks like the Hunchback of Notre Dame playing Fortnite just after having his cataracts removed.
There are ways to sit better for sure, but nothing beats taking a break from bell ringing, er, I mean computer work/the classroom/the Playstation every 20 minutes or so…….

 

2. YOU WILL BREATHE BETTER!!

Many, many of us have shallower breathing patterns due to the stress of our busy lives already. When we sit, the already hampered movement of our breathing muscle – the diaphragm – becomes even more so. The other muscles that help with breathing get shorter and tighter as our upper backs and shoulders tense up in long periods of sitting at work, or driving for example.

On rising to our feet, it’s like a weird transformation as we curl out of our almost foetal positions to become the majestic Atheneans we were always meant to be………hmmmmm well maybe  that’s over egging it, but the diaphragm gets a lot more room to move and the shoulders have a better opportunity of finding a balanced position on the ribcage rather than slumping off like a walrus slipping into the sea and constricting the chest. The constriction in the thorax/chest area from sitting clearly affects our breathing patterns and shallow, tight breathing has an adverse effect on our emotional, mental and physical health overall.

 

3.  YOU WILL MOVE BETTER!!

Sitting for long periods puts the muscles behind the thighs and the muscles that flex the hip in very short positions. Put a muscle into a short position for even 30 minutes and it tends to stay short and need a bit of coaxing back by gentle stretching (think how often, when you get up from your chair, you instinctively streeeeeetch…….). Think about the effect of sitting for hours at school or at work. It is what one can call “profoundly deleterious” on the body. It is why children, at the age of 10 and upwards, can resemble very old people in their movement and posture. This is not a very good thing. At all.

Getting up and moving around regularly at work and avoiding sitting as much as possible outside of work means you will move better – this is what your body is designed to do of course. When relaxing, I like to say RECLINE rather than sit….

 

4. YOUR BUM WILL LOOK GOOD IN THAT…..

Sitting switches OFF the gluteus maximus muscles. These are the muscles that give shape to your rear end. Muscles switch off when they are not being used. If they are not being used, well, they tend towards looking like used tea bags over time…..
Even worse, if you sit all the time then it is really really difficult to wake up those sleeping beauties again, which leads to a stooped posture at the hip, a lack of power and stability at the biggest joints in the body and the potential onset of  hip problems in the future.
But if I just tell you you will look better in those jeans, that should be enough to get you out of that chair…….shouldn’t it?

 

5. YOU CAN INCREASE THE LIFE OF YOUR FURNITURE!!

Ok so this last one isn’t really a reason NOT to sit, but if the first 4 REASONS aren’t having an effect, then I don’t know what will………….get up, get out, move around, use it or lose it, save yourself while you still can, play hooky from school……ok, ok, DON’T play hooky from school, but maybe spend your break times up on your feet, join the gym club, take up jiu jitsu rather than Call of Duty…….you get the picture……..

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