You might be surprised to learn that 50-70% of people spend six or more hours sitting each day. Coupled with that is the fact that 20-35% of people spend four or more hours a day watching television. That is pretty startling data, since research shows that the rates of heart disease, diabetes and obesity occur two to three times more in people who sit a lot.
Part of the problem associated with sitting is that it appears to alter circulation of lipase, an enzyme that helps absorb fat. Simply standing up as opposed to sitting engages muscles and helps your body process fat and cholesterol in a positive way, as well as increases metabolic rate during the day because of the increased muscle activity required for standing.
Here are some other negative factors about excessive sitting:
- Weight gain, orthopedic problems and chronic disease due to lack of movement
- Flexion of the spine, which leads to a forward head, rounded shoulders, rounded upper back and muscles that are long and weak
- Flexion of the pelvis and hips, which leads to hip flexors and trunk muscles that are short and weak.
To help offset the effects of the sitting position, commit yourself to doing a few exercises each day. Exercises should be performed as described through a pain free range of motion for 6-10 reps. Hold each position for 3-5 seconds before moving on to the next rep. Discontinue any exercise that causes you any pain. To view all of the exercises, visit these workstation break exercises.