Is Sitting Down Really That Bad for You?

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Over the last few years, there have been many articles detailing how bad sitting can be for the body. You may have even seen the phrase, “Sitting is the new smoking.” But how bad is sitting down, really?

As a physical therapist, I see many people who come into my office and sheepishly admit that they sit all day long for their jobs. As our reliance on technology for our jobs increases, this becomes more and more of the norm for society.

Personally, I think sitting has gotten a bad rap, and what we really need to do is look at our lack of physical activity overall. When we sit every day for our job, it can have a negative impact on the body, but an overall lack of physical activity is much more concerning than sitting itself.

When we sit, our bodies adapt to that position. There are several things that occur, such as a tightening of the hamstrings and a forward head and rounded shoulder posture. We don’t use our core muscles when we sit, because our body is supported, so there can be a weakening of those muscles as well. Our body gets used to not having to use these muscle groups. Then, when you do try to get out and be active, or work in the yard, you might be more susceptible to injury or pain because your body isn’t used to that kind of stress.

In short, you don’t need to quit your day job to pursue a career that involves standing all day. What you really need to do is increase your activity level outside of work and incorporate some regular exercises that combat the negative effects of sitting. These exercises can include core strengthening, stretching of the hips and chest and exercises to reverse your forward posture.

If you are experiencing pain related to sitting for long periods of time, a physical therapist can help you identify a more targeted exercise program.

Physical Therapist Kyle Stevenson, D.P.T., sees patients at MidMichigan’s Rehabilitation Services location in Greater Midland North-End Fitness Center. He has a special interest in sports medicine, and enjoys working with athletes of all ages. He has completed specialized coursework and training for the throwing athletes. New patients are welcome with a physician referral by calling (989) 832-5913. Those who would like more information about MidMichigan’s Rehabilitation Services may visit www.midmichigan.org/rehabilitation.

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