“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” – Jim Rohn
Many of us would like to think that we are fairly “fit” physically, depending on how that’s defined. However, the sobering truth is that – unless you’re an athlete or a keep to a dedicated fitness regimen – you are likely less than fit.
And, most likely, you are more sedentary than active, which can be a pain. Literally.
The statistics back this up. And the impact of physical inactivity is far more than physical or physiological. According to the United Health Foundation’s “America’s Health Rankings” Annual Report for 2018, the percentage of adults who reported doing no physical activity or exercise other than their regular job in the past 30 days was 25.6 percent of the population.
Some states, like California, did better than the average with less than 24 percent being physically inactive. Other states, however, such as Kentucky, reported 34.4 percent of their adult population as doing no activity outside of their job. That’s more than 1 in 3 people.
Aside from a general lack of fitness, this level of inactivity can lead to high blood pressure, obesity and premature death. Along with these is a more common condition of “frequent physical distress” which the Foundation as “physical health was not good 14 or more days in the past 30 days.”
Working “Hard” All Day Often Isn’t Enough
While those who do, indeed, work at physically demanding jobs may be lower on the scale of physical inactivity, a vast majority of Americans work at desk jobs or other positions that do not require much in the way of movement or physical exertion.
In other words, many people sit all day at work.
Sitting can cause some more obvious and immediate problems like sore muscles and lower back pain. In fact, lower back pain is one of the most common complaints among adults and prolonged sitting can be a major cause or contributor to that.
According to one Time article,
“There is growing evidence that time spent sitting — in cars, at offices and on the couch — is having some seriously negative effects on health. Sedentary behavior has been linked to obesity, heart disease, diabetes and other chronic conditions.
But a new study provides encouragement that some physical activity, including relatively simple ways to improve muscle strength, may be enough to overcome some of the unhealthy effects of sitting too much.”
While this is good news, another article in the same magazine noted that,
“A recent review of 43 studies analyzing daily activity and cancer rates found that people who reported sitting for more hours of the day had a 24% greater risk of developing colon cancer, a 32% higher risk of endometrial cancer and a 21% higher risk of lung cancer—regardless of how much they exercised. In another study involving a group of men and women who reported exercising the same amount, each additional hour they spent sitting was linked to a drop in their fitness levels. In other words, sitting was chipping away at some of the benefits of exercise.”
The problem for many people today, however, isn’t a lack of awareness about inactivity and too much time spent sitting. It’s a problem of logistics and necessity. We must sit at our desks for the most part. And we have to sit in our cars commuting to and from work. And we usually sit for meals, for watching TV or movies, and any number of other “activities”, which, as it turns out, are not really activities in the physical sense!
Sitting is probably the epitome of a sedentary and physically inactive lifestyle. Very few people spend most of their days lying down. But studies show that sitting is almost as bad and that even standing is more beneficial. Standing works different muscles in different ways and burns more calories than sitting even if you aren’t moving.
Sitting most of the day constitutes the typical activity of a sedentary lifestyle and it’s killing us. According to a post at Business Insider’s website,
“A sedentary lifestyle isn’t just bad for the waistline and the heart, though it certainly can cause problems there. Sitting for too long is also associated with weakening of the brain in areas associated with memory, increased risk for cancer and diabetes, and overall increased risk of an early death.”
And with that sedentary lifestyle and the vast amount of time spent sitting all day comes a plethora of aches and pains. And possibly physical damage associated with how we sit. Healthline’s online newsletter noted the following things that happen when you sit down all day:
Weak Legs and Glutes By sitting all day, you’re not depending on your powerful lower body muscles to hold you up. This leads to muscle atrophy, which is the weakening of these muscles. Without strong leg and glute muscles to stabilize you, your body is at risk of injury.
Tight Hips and a Bad Back Sitting causes your hip flexors to shorten, and your seated position can also hurt your back, particularly if you have bad posture or don’t use an ergonomic chair. Also, poor posture while sitting can cause compression on the discs in your spine and can lead to premature degeneration, which results in chronic pain.
Stiff Shoulders and Neck Your shoulders and neck will also suffer from prolonged sitting. This is especially true if you’re hunched over looking at a computer screen.
The bottom line (no pun intended!) is that more than 50 percent of Americans spend over six hours sitting every day, and a sore rear end isn’t the only result. Sitting can have short- and long-term effects on your health and body, making this lack of activity potentially deadly.
Staying Active and Pain-Free With Pain and Performance Solutions
At your first appointment here at Pain and Performance Solutions, we will learn all we can about your present pain and condition, along with any history of discomfort, as well as your current activity – or lack of it.
Treating and relieving pain starts once we understand where and how your pain started.
A full examination will help us determine which form of treatment is best suited to get you on your road to recovery. Your trust in us is key, as is your honesty. Ultimately, getting your body healthy and working properly is the only way to achieve total recovery. So, don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here to help and will answer any questions that you may have.
We will conduct a full examination to help us determine which form of treatment is best suited to put you on your road to recovery. Because our bodies will compensate for pain to allow us to function during our day, the pain can shift around and lead to other forms of pain.
Our goal is to work through the sequence of pain and dysfunction in order to get your body healthy and working properly and to achieve total recovery. Don’t hesitate to reach out. We are here to help and will answer any questions that you may have.
You can reach us at (707) 636-4404 or by filling out our online contact form.