FEELING GREAT: Sitting down for too long can bring about health problems

Here’s a habit, and a bad one at that, I know you’ve got. Sitting is something that people once did only when they needed a rest – but, it seems, not any more.

"Think about your typical daily routine, and you spend an alarming number of hours in a chair. "
"Think about your typical daily routine, and you spend an alarming number of hours in a chair. "

Sitting has now become what I call a "dangerous norm”, meaning everyone does it every day, so everyone thinks it’s OK to keep doing it.

Whether we’re in a car, at work, out for dinner, having coffee, watching TV or using the computer, we’re all constantly sitting. And, with the advent of home working over the last 18 months, it’s got worse.

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Think about your typical daily routine, and you spend an alarming number of hours in a chair. If it’s more than nine, you could have a few unwanted (and unknown) health problems.

We were not designed to sit; our bodies are not shaped to do it, nor do they have the natural ability to cope with pressure on the lower back and carrying the weight of the head as it drops forward when you sit.

I’ll happily bet that sitting has become so frequent that it’s unlikely you’ll ever question how much of it you do.

Health issues we see at the Paul Gough Physio Rooms as a result of this excess time spent sitting (bad backs, painful, swollen knees and tight, tense shoulder muscles) could be surfacing years later, never mind today.

As with the smoking habit of previous generations, nobody questioned it until studies of the health damage it did were produced and people started suffering, a few decades on.

The reality is that you need to sit less. Even just spending an hour sitting, you reduce your body’s ability to burn fat by up to 90% because it slows down your metabolism.

Excess sitting in wrong positions (when you’re slouched) is the prime cause of back pain and neck and shoulder tension in the people who visit my clinic, and they’re nearly always in their 40s and 50s.

Excess pressure from poor sitting, when your body weight pushes down on your lower back stresses joints, can lead to sciatica and neck stiffness, not to mention awkward looking postures.

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For more tips and advice, please get in touch for a free copy of my book The Healthy Habit. I have three available to the first readers to get in touch.

It is essential reading for people aged 50-plus, and for anyone that would like to improve their own healthy habits. Call 01429 866771 or visit paulgoughphysio.com.