In fact, current statistics show that the average adult spends up to ten hours each day sitting. Such an extensive length of time means that even 60-minutes of daily exercise is not enough to overcome the negative effects. These long periods of sitting can cause serious back problems on the lumbar spine and consequences to our health and even shorten our lifespan.
Sitting, Posture and Back Problems
When we sit for long periods, extra pressure in exerted on the spine. The condition gets even worse when we sit hunchbacked in front of a laptop or computer, which so many of us tend to do. Over 40% of those suffering from chronic back pain are people who also spend a large portion of their day sitting. As we move, the intervertebral discs in the spinal column expand and contract, increasing the blood flow to these regions and allowing the absorption of nutrients. Sitting compresses these disks instead, which can lead to a decrease in our overall flexibility and increase the risks of herniation.
Sitting and Lifespan
Sitting can take years off of our life. One research study suggests that decreasing our daily sitting time to less than three hours per day can essentially add two full years to our lifespans. This includes the time we spend sitting in front of the TV. For every hour that we spend in front of the television after the age of 25, we shave 22 minutes off of our life expectancy. This number is the equivalent of smoking two cigarettes per day. To put this another way, an adult who spends six hours a day watching TV will live five years less than someone who doesn’t watch TV at all.
If you happen to have a job that requires a great amount of sitting, here are some useful tips. Periodically throughout the day, stand up and walk across the room to talk to a co-worker. Park your car a further distance from the building door. And maybe consider taking the stairs instead of the elevator. If you want to live longer, you have to keep moving.