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Is sitting the new smoking?

Sitting is an integral part of modern life – in the car, at your desk, on the couch, and even at restaurants. However, did you know that sitting for prolonged periods of time can be harmful to your body? Research has shown that sitting is the new smoking and can cause various health issues such as inner thigh and hamstring tension, erector back muscle inhibition, and hip flexor engagement.

The Hidden Harm to Your Health and Wellness

When we sit for an extended period, our body adapts to the posture and tries to optimize it by holding onto certain muscles and tightening them up. This hip flexor closing in kind of tension can disrupt the body’s alignment, cause pain, and create compression along the spine. The long-term effects of sitting can be detrimental to our health and wellness.

Therefore, it is essential to have a routine that counters sitting and strengthens and decompresses the spine to neutralize the accumulated tension. Incorporating spinal muscle activation and mobility work can help activate the passive muscles and send signals to the body to neutralize tension, thus improving spinal health.

Apart from spinal muscle activation, releasing your hamstrings in conjunction with spine mobility can help neutralize tension and relax the hip flexors, allowing them to stretch. Sitting for an extended period can also cause low back pain by taking the low back sacral region out of alignment, resulting in weakened muscles and reactive tension response.

What you can do about it

Sitting isn’t going to go away anytime so so to counteract the negative effects, here are some things you can do to maintain good posture and spinal health.

  1. Stretching: One of the most important tips is to incorporate stretching protocols into your morning and bedtime routine, as building a routine is key to success. Setting a timer to remind you to get up and walk around every 1-2 hours can also help activate the spine muscles.

  2. Environment: Choosing the right chair is equally important. Finding a chair that fits you and allows you to sit at 90 degrees or slightly above is crucial. There are two strategies to achieve this: first, a chair that has enough depth to allow you to get your knees as far back as possible and the back support close to you, and second, sitting more towards the end of the chair, which forces the body to activate more of the spine to actively posture up. Additionally, staying centered and avoiding leaning to either side, as well as avoiding bending one leg in or out, can help maintain good posture and spinal health.

  3. Habits: Changing your sitting patterns can have various benefits, including improving longevity and enabling you to take control of the tension patterns in your body. With this knowledge, you can identify and counteract the tension patterns that occur in your body, minimizing the amount of tension and improving your overall health and wellness.

While sitting may be an unavoidable aspect of modern life, it doesn’t have to be tremendously harmful. By incorporating spinal muscle activation and mobility work, releasing hamstrings, and following some additional tips, you can maintain good posture and spinal health and improve your overall well-being.

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