There is mounting evidence of the ill-effects associated with sitting too much, movement has become essential for living well. Movements helps maintain healthy joints, muscles, bones, and organs. Dr. John W. Phelts DC practices in the heart of Manhattan, which means that he sees many patients, whose occupation requires prolonged sittling.
The way your body moves (functions) is in direct relation to its form (structure) and vice versa. To get a better understanding of this relationship, let's talk cars...
Imagine your are driving an brand new Porsche. You can dip and weave in and out of traffic with ease. This car handles turns better than a rollercoaster. It adrenaline rushing acceleration and can stop on a dime. But if you don't perform routine maintenance, all that beautiful form is for nothing and your Porsche no longer functions well. Form determines function and how well you care for function affects form. Now, back to your body…
Our body's God given innate intelligence creates movement patterns that are in dynamic play between form and function, influenced by the type of care we give our body. This complex interaction includes the skeleton, connective tissues like ligaments and tendons, muscles, joints, our breathing, heart function and posture. Mounds of research indicate that chiropractic adjustments improve the strength and inergrity of ligaments, while preventing osteoarthritis of the spine.
Sitting is Killing Us
Today's society is plagued by sitting activities. On average americans sit about 14 hours a day: at meals, in traffic, at school or work, in front of electronic devices and TVs. Prolonged sitting can increase our risk for obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. It's a primary culprit in these health problems, which shorten life expectancy:
Chronic back, hip and neck pain: related to weakened core muscles and shortened ligaments connecting the hips, pelvis, and spine.
Shallow breathing (reduced respiratory capacity): related to compression of the respiratory muscles while sitting and tightness in the accessory muscles around the rib cage, shoulders and neck.
Gastrointestinal issues and indigestion: related to reduced circulation to the gut.
Low energy level, depressed mood: related to lack of engagement of systems that produce hormones and other substances that elevate mood.
But, I go to the gym...
Even if you exercise at a gym, or fitness walk for an hour each day, you're still sitting too much for that one hour to make a real difference. Leisurely, periodic movement is critical to lowering your risk for chronic health problems and even early death. Some ideas:
Every 30 minutes, stand/walk for about 10 minutes.
Stand while talking on the phone, using a device, or watching television.
Desk worker: Try a standing desk or improvise with a high table or counter; invest in a specialized treadmill desk.
Walk with colleagues for meetings instead of sitting in a conference room.
Once an hour, stand and breathe deeply for five minutes.
Strengthen and stretch with standing yoga poses.
Try apps designed to remind you to move and stretch during work hours.
Get adjusted by your chiropractor two to three times a month.
Enjoy the benefits of getting up and moving, which include . . .
Burning additional calories, which can lead to weight loss and increased energy.
Better digestion, the result of light movement after meals.
Support for the respiratory system's role in helping the body remove waste and toxins; movement gives the muscles "room to breathe" placing less stress on joints, muscle and ligaments.
If you have chronic pain or other problems associated with too much sitting, make an appointment with Dr. Phelts at his mid-town office for a thorough postural and biomechanical assessment. 212-286-2012. He is located in the 10016 zip code.
MayoClinic.org. "What are the Risks of Sitting too Much?" posted by Laskowski, E.R. (May 2018) https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/sitting/faq-20058005
IowaChiroClinic. Org "Does Posture Really Affect Breathing?" Accessed April 8 2019: https://iowachiroclinic.com/2014/01/20/does-posture-really-affect-breathing-and-lung-capacity/
Healthline.com "Breathe Deeper to Improve Health & Posture" posted by Marcin, J. (posted 27 Feb 2018) https://www.healthline.com/health/breathe-deeper-improve-health-and-posture
CNN. "Yes, sitting too long can kill you, even if you exercise." Posted by Scutti, S.(Posted on 12 Sept 2017) https://www.cnn.com/2017/09/11/health/sitting-increases-risk-of-death-study/index.html