The dangers of sitting have been highlighted over the past few years much to the delight of fitness professionals, movement therapists and the like.
“Over a lifetime, the unhealthful effects of sitting add up. Alpa Patel, an epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society, tracked the health of 123,000 Americans between 1992 and 2006. The men in the study who spent six hours or more per day of their leisure time sitting had an overall death rate that was about 20 percent higher than the men who sat for three hours or less. The death rate for women who sat for more than six hours a day was about 40 percent higher. Patel estimates that on average, people who sit too much shave a few years off of their lives.”-courtesy of this NY Times article:
Another quick resource to peruse claims that sitting is the new smoking:
Creep not Creepers
To keep things a bit lighter I want to remind you about the changes that occur in our myofascial system when we sit, or maintain any posture for more than 20 minutes. Creep starts to set in. We literally stiffen up (or soften up!). No shock right? Ever try and get up after a movie, long dinner or plane flight and feel tight? It’s not in your head, your tissues have changed.
Creep is the capacity of fascia and other tissue to lengthen when subjected to a constant tension load resulting in less resistance to a second load application. A progressive deformation occurs over time; it allows soft tissues to tolerate applied loads by lengthening.
The guys at the M.E.C.A. Institute site a pertinent piece of literature in this discussion.
“Static flexion of the lumbar spine with constant load applied to the viscoelastic structures for 20 minutes and for 50 minutes resulted in development of spasms and inhibition in the multifidus muscles (e.g., deep erector spinae) and in creep of the supraspinous ligament in the feline model. The development of spasms and inhibition was not dependent on load magnitude. It is suggested that occupational and sports activities which require prolonged static lumbar flexion within the physiological range can cause a “sprain”-like injury to the ligaments, which in turn reflexively induce spasms and inhibition in some erector spinae muscles. Such disorder may take a long time to recover, in the order of days to weeks, depending on the level of creep developed in the tissues.”
M. Solomonow, , B. Zhou, R. V. Baratta, M. Zhu and Y. Lu Neuromuscular disorders associated with static lumbar flexion: a feline model _Occupational Medicine Research Center and Bioengineering Laboratory, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Louisiana State University Medical Center, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA _Received 12 April 2001; revised 16 August 2001; accepted 28 September 2001 Available online 28 November 2001.
The more time we spend in a seated position, the more prone we are to injury. Muscle imbalances develop, however the real threat may be the adaptations that are occurring on deeper levels.
So what do we do? Get up and move every 20 minutes or so. Take a walk. Do some stretches or Tai Chi. Hold downward facing dog or some other yoga poses.
Amble up to a co-workers desk and drop a deep hip flexor stretch off the edge of it. Hide in the stair well and bust out some mobility work. Hide a roller under your desk and use it when no one is looking…you make the call. Point is regular movement makes it easier to prepare for sport, life or training when we keep our tissues hydrated and lubricated throughout the day as bets as possible. It will cut down on our warm up time and reduce the likelihood of tissue strains.
I can’t write a post about creep without mentioning Radiohead.
Radiohead live anyone?
Thanks for reading!
Speaker. Therapist. Trainer. Coach