Sitting vs Standing. What is best for you?

July 8th, 2015 by admin

Sitting vs Standing. What’s best?

By Erin Burns

Almost 2/3rds of Australian adults are overweight or obese. More alarmingly, ¼ of Aussie kids are too. If figures stay the same, according to the Australian bureau of statistics; 80% of us will be classified as overweight or obese. So the question is why?

Obviously there is no one answer. Multiple factors are responsible for our weight loss, gain or maintenance. We all know the obvious; eat well, exercise regularly, attempt our 10,000 step goal daily, get some good sleep. But what most of us don’t know, is that even though we are ticking off these daily milestones, there may be something we are doing every single day that is undoing all our good work. Sitting. And we are doing far too much of it.

The average Australian sits for nearly 9 hours per day, whether that be at work, in the car, watching TV etc. Couple that with roughly 7 hours sleep, and that’s a whopping 2/3rds of our day sedentary! So what is this doing to our bodies?

As soon as we sit, our metabolism slows, our blood pressure and blood glucose levels rise and our ability to break down fat stores drop by 90%. What this means is that if we adopt this lifestyle long term, it increases our risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis and a whole bunch of other chronic diseases. Not only that, but prolonged seated positions also have a detrimental effect on our backs. Sensitisation of our spine can occur with awkward postures, inactivity, lack of sleep, stress and poor mood. Sound familiar to anyone?

Prolonged sitting also makes your hip flexors and hamstrings really tight. And because you’re sitting on your butt and not using it, your glutes and other stability muscles get weak, as do your abs. You will tend to hunch over, your shoulders will roll in and your neck will become stiff. Also your diaphragm can’t function properly when you are slouching, and it is one of your main core stabilising muscles. All of these things can contribute to back, neck, shoulder pain and headaches.

Try this quick experiment. Sit up tall, imaging that someone is pulling your ears to the roof, now take a big breath in. See how easy it is. Now slouch, roll your shoulders in and look up at your computer screen. Now take a big breath in. Feels difficult doesn’t it?

What can be done? Simple answer. Move and try and sit with good posture. Adopt regular patterns of movement. Try to stand every 30 minutes, even to get a glass of water, go to the bathroom, printer etc, have standing or even better walking meetings rather than sitting ones. Enquire at work about potential for standing or height adjustable desks, which are becoming more common in the workplace. We often ask patients to put a post–it note on the bottom corner of their computer screen with the words ‘posture’ for that constant reminder to sit tall. Think ears to the roof. Regular exercise and increasing your incidental exercise daily will have a massive impact on your health and aches and pains.

If you are experiencing back, neck, shoulder pain or headaches call to see one of our Physios today on 9904 2180, or go to the online booking link on the home page.



Picture source: The mirror UK