If you watched CTV last week in Canada, you will have seen that the government is warning workers that prolonged sitting is no longer good for your overall health. It is an area that I have been discussing in relation to your skeletal health, but now the government is warning workers in situations such as call centers and workers on computers, that many medical conditions are negatively related to the inactivity caused by prolonged sitting.
The reason for this claim is quite simply that are bodies are not designed for inactivity. Our bodies are designed for the complex physical activity of moving our whole body; and that creates physical activity in our muscles and throughout the internal mechanism of our body.
When we are just passively sitting, doing minimal physical activity; our whole body just slows right down. The body becomes sedentary, losing all its internal physical activity that is involved with physical movement. The body internally becomes sedentary; even though the digestive system is still in full operation, by us consuming plenty of food and drinks.
Our lack of muscular movement means that our metabolism slows down, which has a knock-on effect to our digestion, our heart and blood, our glands, kidneys liver etc. It basically slows everything down, so that we learn to remain continually sluggish in all our systemic organs.
Too many sugary drinks, instead of water give rise to diabetes, because the lack of movement activity. It prevents conversion of the sugar to glucose for feeding the muscle tissues; instead it becomes stored instead of being used in activity. I am no physiologist, but our body is designed to do more physically and not store sugar in prolonged sitting.
It does not have to be like this!
Sitting can be a much more dynamic position; if you learn to sit on your pelvic bones, rather than leaning back on the backrest of the chair.
To do this you do not want to sit in the central part of the chair and only lean back until you feel your body weight running vertically down your spine to your pelvic bones. The balance of your body weight is now on your pelvic area. It means that you can move your legs quite easily.
I call this position ‘ergonomic sitting’, because you are in a position of movement with your arms and legs. Think of riding a bicycle; where you are sitting on your pelvic bones for cycling. In this position you can use your hands on the computer and do not require a back for your sitting position.
Imagine your body is like a sapling tree in the wind. The spine is strong and will not fall apart, but can be moved around by leaning on one side or the other and the only effect it will have is to shift the weight off one pelvis or the other. This is important to do for providing oxygen to the tissues where the blood is compressed out of the area and needs more oxygen to replenish the area.
These are not major movements, but balance changing movements that encourage active mobility inside of your body for generating the internal organs to take supplementary action.
Prolonged sitting will soon become a negative medical term in the medical dictionary, because of the long term negative effects that it has on our overall body. We need to think about ways to counteract sedentary sitting and change it into a position of movement, which is easy if you learn how to sit “ergonomically”.
Ergonomic sitting has been explained as a way of preserving the safety of your spine, while encouraging active movement. This position encourages more active movement, because your feet and arms are free to move; any movement in any of your limbs will impact on the position of your spine, creating the much needed activity that your body desires.
The author is a qualified Occupational Therapist, who is unable to practice Occupational Therapy due to cognitive brain trauma from a severe case of viral encephalitis. She is creating a niche market in comfortable ergonomic daily living products http://www.activelivingsolutions.net that teaches customers how to retain their health, through using ergonomic products, such as ergonomic chairs. Gail is starting by selling ergonomic chairs and is offering a FREE Therapeutic Living Plan with each chair purchased. She is writing about ergonomics and how ergonomic sitting, or a cycling position has cured the scoliosis in her back from pelvic sitting on her bicycle that cycling provides.