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Stand Up To Sitting

Wharton Health Blog

Stand Up To Sitting

James Wharton


Are we sitting ourselves to death?

Obesity, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. All these conditions are now linked to sitting on our duffs. “Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death” says Dr. James Levine., director of the Mayo Clinic and inventor the treadmill desk. The National Cancer Institute studied four million individuals and over 68 thousand cancer patients. The cancer study found long term sitting increased your risk for colon, endometrial, and potentially lung cancer. Risk factors became worse after every two hour increase in sitting.

          From a musculoskeletal perspective slouching over in a chair is equivalent to over 200 kg of pressure on the disks of your lumbar spine. Besides a rigorous standing regime, standing desks, and cushy ergonomically designed chairs—what to do? Here’s a couple of tricks:

•  Sit Correctly—place your buttocks all the way to back of your chair; this makes it easier to sit up straight and avoid slouching.

•  Active Flexibility—take breaks to perform range of motion exercises during long hours in the saddle.

Get Strong—strength exercises -  especially in the gluteals, hamstring and lower back muscles - will give you the stamina to maintain the static position of sitting.