The Perils of Inactivity
19 April 2022
Over the last couple of years, there has been a rise in the number of people who are working from home. What has become apparent is the negative effect that this has had on your body. Your work set-up was only 20 seconds from your bed, you didn’t even have your commute to work anymore, so there has been a rise in inactivity.
This lack of movement has meant that your body has become increasingly stiff to touch. There has never been such a common change in such a range of people that have come into our clinics. There was a stark difference between how most of your bodies felt before the pandemic and how they feel now.
We all need to start being more proactive to counteract our inactivity. There is a lot more at stake than is initially obvious.
A lack of spinal movement can have all sorts of effects like depression, weight gain, poor sleep, brain fog, burn out, and lethargy, to name a few. Sitting for too long can create passivity in your spine. We should be holding our spines up actively, but this is progressively being replaced by a passive “hang” in your spine.
This overtime can lead to a forward head posture, and an increased mid-back arch too. This isn’t good. Increased spinal curves put your spinal cord under pressure, which will affect its function.
“Chairs and beds allow us to turn our muscles off and sag into cushions. They mess with the way we evolved to sit when we relax.”
You could argue that sitting is worse than a lack of exercise.
A lot of us have managed to maintain some level of exercise throughout the pandemic, moreso now with the easing of restrictions. Unfortunately, a lot of your efforts are undermined by the fact that you roll out of bed and are at your work desk in 20 seconds.
There are many studies that have been done on the effect of triglyceride levels and heart disease. Raised triglyceride levels can lead to heart problems, so we want to keep them as low as we can. A lack of movement can cause higher triglyceride levels, so by breaking up the amount of time your are sitting with light activity, you can greatly reduce these levels.
What light activity can you do?
Shrug your shoulders, lean from right to left, and twist your spine in all directions. If you’re currently working from home, why not put on your favourite song three times a day and dance to it. Get some flow into your spine.
You could even squat for one or two minutes 10 times a day. Squatting forces you to keep your body balanced over your feet, which needs 5-10 times more muscle activity in the legs than when you are sitting.
Alternatively, if you have the option, you could opt for a standing desk. If you change your work posture, it will all work in your favour. Many new and clever products have emerged in the last 12 months that easily allow you to convert your sitting desk to a standing one.
If you adopt any of these small changes, it will add up over time. Making small changes to your posture is like compound interest in your savings – the reward you receive is disproportionately large compared to the small repetitive actions that you take.
Time plays a vital role in your outcome, so doing these simple things for one week won’t really help at all. If you do them everyday consistently, your spine will be in a better flow than if you don’t do it.
So, should we abandon our chairs?
Studies suggest that you can experience long term benefits by breaking up your sitting into shorter bouts to increase muscle activity throughout the day. Your chiropractic adjustments keep your spine moving. As soon as the joints in your spine move less, you might notice negative changes. In chiropractic, we call these blocks a subluxation. When you keep moving, you are likely to experience less subluxations.
Enjoy moving your spine. Enjoy the natural cleverness your body will provide with the movement.
Chiropractic is also a great way to help your body to cope with the stress from sitting down. Click here to find out more about how chiropractic might help you.