Hot off the Press – Sitting is Killing You
What’s America’s favorite activity? Sitting on its butt and doing nothing! Well, here’s a newsflash – America’s favorite activity, sitting, is horrible for your health.
Seriously, with a country full of people who sit for 8 hours per day just to go home and sit some more, you’d think that sitting is a national pastime. Thankfully it isn’t, but that doesn’t change the fact that everyone spends so much time sitting on their butts everyday.
“Mark, so why are you hating on something that’s completely natural and relaxing?” Well, I’d like to challenge the notion that the human body is designed to sit for long periods of time, if at all. So instead of blabbering on and giving you a sugar-coated argument, let me just get straight to it and lay out my reasoning against sitting.
Sitting Destroys Your Posture
Have you ever broken a bone or sprained a joint? If you have, then I’m sure you have the damaged area casted or splinted for some period of time. What happens when you finally remove the cast or splint is that you find your arm/wrist/ankle/etc. to be stiff and weak. So, why wouldn’t this happen to your body if you sit and remain relatively motionless for hours at a time?
As seen above in the diagram I drew, the hip flexors and thoracic flexors (represented by the red lines) are stuck in a shortened positioned while sitting. If you sit for hours, those muscles become short and tight, even while standing. Tight hip flexors cause excessive anterior pelvic tilt, and tight thoracic flexors cause excessive kyphosis. Basically, your posture is screwed – and this can lead to issues in both the weight room and in everyday-life.
Got any of these postural issues from sitting? Then take a look at my articles on anterior pelvic tilt and lordosis. I’ve yet to write specifically on kyphosis, but both posts go hand-in-hand with fighting excessive kyphosis.
Sitting Reduces Metabolic-Rate
This is an obvious point. When you sit, you’re muscles stop generating force and require less energy. Depending on how you’re sitting, you could just be hanging out using your bones and ligaments for support. This obviously requires zero effort on the part of your muscles’ behalf.
If you check out healthstatus.com, you see that they’ve got a calculator for an approximate amount of calories burned during any activity.
Let’s compare sitting, standing, and walking at 2 mph (all for 60 minutes) for a 200-lb. man. Sitting requires 96 calories, standing requires 108 calories, and walking at 2 mph requires 252 calories. While there isn’t too much of a difference between sitting and standing, sitting and walking are worlds apart from each other.
Now let’s compare someone in a “sitting” job versus someone in a “standing” job. It’s assumed that an office worker spends most of his or her time sitting, and a letter-carrier/waiter/dog-walker/etc. will spend a considerable amount of time walking as well as standing. Let’s say that the “standing” worker stands half the time, and walks the other half of the time.
That means that per hour, the “sitting” worker will burn 96 calories compared to the “standing” worker’s 180 calories burned. (180 is derived from averaging out 108 and 252). That’s double the amount of calories burned throughout the working day. And now we see why America is so fat. Because it requires no effort, sitting is killing you by gradually increasing your fat storage over time.
Makes you want to stand up now, huh?
A Final Word
So in closing, would you rather look like Tarzan, with a lean body and confident stance. Or would your prefer looking like the Hunchback of Notre Dam, with a fat body and horrible posture?
One physique and posture is attained through sitting, and the other is attained by moving. It’s time to get off the chair, because sitting is killing you!