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Are You Sitting Comfortably?

beautiful young girl sitting at home with her dog near fireplace Even if you are sitting comfortably, and you enjoy all the time you spend sitting, you might like to re-think your sitting habits for your health’s sake.

How much do we sit?

In the modern world today, the average number of hours we sit per day is ten. Studies from the World Health Organisation (WHO) have found that millions worldwide are being adversely affected by poor work posture - and prolonged sitting.

Some health risks

A sedentary lifestyle can lead to:
  • Back pain
  • Strained neck and shoulders
  • Muscle degeneration
  • Liver disease
  • Poor digestion
  • Varicose veins
  • Weak bones and
  • Organ damage

What should you do about too much sitting?

Doctors are recommending to those who sit in front of a computer in an office environment that for every 30 minutes spent working in an office, they should sit for 20 minutes, stand for 8 minutes and then move around and stretch for 2 minutes. But the important point about standing for those 8 minutes is that it should not be standing still because any stationary posture (where energy expenditure is low) may be detrimental to health, be it sitting or standing. There is a growing "stand up movement" but the emphasis needs to be on movement. When you make a conscious effort to stand up instead of sitting down, such as by using a standing work-station, the good news is that you will probably move more naturally as well.

Children and sitting

Children can spend many hours in a day in front of screens instead of the time they used to spend outdoors and "on the go" in previous decades. "Screen time" is a term used for activities done in front of a screen, such as watching TV, working on a computer, or playing video games. Screen time is a sedentary activity so your children are being physically inactive while sitting down. Very little energy is used during screen time. Added together, all types of screen time can total 5 to 7 hours a day. Then there is time spent sitting at their desks in school. Children need to get back into the habit of regular exercise and outdoors activities again. On the subject of very young children and sitting, we have written before on the problems with w-sitting. Perhaps it is time to be less comfortable when you are sitting down so that you are more tempted to get up and get moving more often.   varicose1