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Sitting vs Standing


A Facebook post that happened to reach my wall the other day read: “Sitting will be this generation’s smoking”.  Smoking?  But that’s REALLY dangerous!

Sitting is something that we do all the time.  And we’ve always been sitting like this in that past, right?… RIGHT???

Well, not really.  The comment relating smoking to sitting is based upon the fact that at one point, we didn’t think that smoking was dangerous either.  There was a time when your medical doctors smoked…in their own offices!!!  Remember when you could smoke on airplanes?  We’ve come a long ways!

Now we know that smoking is dangerous and it is widely accepted that if you smoke you run the risk of many, many different long term issues and damage to all kinds of different aspects of the human body.  The reality is that at this point in time, it is being hypothesized that sitting, and the fact that many people sit for the bulk of their day, is currently causing major problems for our society today and in the decades to come.

Where do we stand at UC Life Chiropractic Centre?  We agree.

When looking at the spine and its structure of the vertebra bodies we consistently see poor position and SPECIFICALLY a loss of the natural curvature of the neck in clients that are expressing health issues.

YES, we know this is related to the position of the head and the work that we do in the Upper Cervical spine, and we also know that there is an epidemic going on based on the fact that most people are sitting for too many hours a day.  Students in class for hours on end, adults seated at their desks during work hours, and unfortunately both tend to be returning home at the end of the day and sitting on the couch.  Sadly, this IS an epidemic!

For the basis of this Web Log, let us put aside the fact that being sedentary and seated all day is not ideal for creating movement and exercise.  And let us put aside that many many people while seated tend to gravitate to poor choices in relationship to the food that they consume.  Let’s focus only on the effects that a seated position has on the human body.

Let’s start from the bottom and move up and let us assume a “quality” seated posture where people are attempting to sit properly in their chair with “good posture”.

Lower leg blood pooling – Without movement of the lower limbs, gravity prevents the return flow of blood to the heart which is dependent on muscles pumping the blood back against the stress of gravity.  Pooling blood creates unnecessary swelling and lack of fresh nutrient filled blood to the lower legs.  Problems arise.

Constant 90° knee position – The hamstring muscles cross both the hip joint and the knee joints.  When you bend the knee and shorten the hamstrings, you weaken these muscles through lack of activity.  If left in this position for long periods of time they will tighten up and we will lose flexibility.

Constant 90° hip position – When the hip joint is at 90° the front muscles known as the hip flexors are shortened and become weak.  Just like the hamstrings at the knee joint, consistently staying in this position the hip flexors will become tight and you will lose flexibility in the hip joints.  Abdominal muscles are not contracted and therefore become weaker and lose strength.  The pelvis rolls backwards which takes OUT the natural lumbar curvature of the lower back.  This straightens the bottom part of the spine.

Straightened spine – The loss of the lower curve in the low back, causes the top part of the spine to lean forward which puts a lot of strain on the lower back muscles to pull the body into an upright position.  The forward lean of the body creates a roll of the shoulders (not to mention that most people that are seated are doing some sort of a task on a desk in front of them), closing off the chest cavity (affecting breathing) and straining the muscles between the shoulder blades.


Just from sitting.

We are upright beings.  I’m not asking you to quit your jobs and take up a new job that doesn’t make you sit all day, but I am suggesting that you consider these potential problems that do arise from sitting and attempt to alter your day to day lifestyle.  The writing is on the wall so to speak and we are seeing the effects of this change occurring in the community.  The time is now to act on being more proactive if sitting is something that you engage in on a consistent basis.   Look to the next blog for ideas around how you can keep from being a victim of the effects of sitting all day long.


UC Life Team