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The Sitting Disease

May 15, 2012

How many us find ourselves sitting at a desk or on the couch for hours on end? Have you ever noticed how sore your back is after riding in a car all day? According to a poll of nearly 6,300 people by the Institute for Medicine and Public Heath, it's likely you spend 53 hours a week in a sedentary position. It turns out that women may be more sedentary due to less sports and less physically active jobs on average. All this sitting around means we are in the middle of the new age of the sitting disease.

What is the sitting disease? It's the steady, progressive breakdown of the cushion that is between each spinal bone, which are called discs. Just as the shocks in our cars are constantly being driven over pot holes wearing them out. Our discs have different pressure within them, depending on our activity. Lying on our backs gives a disc pressure of 25 psi (pounds per square inch). Standing gives a pressure of 100psi. Sitting increases the pressure to 150psi and leaning forward takes it to 185+psi. This higher pressure over time leads to breaking down the discs, setting us up for more pain causing a disease like process.

So, what can we do now knowing that sitting for long periods of time is harming us? My recommendation is to take frequent breaks. Standing up can help the 'sitting' stress on your spine and it doesn't have be for extended time periods. Stand up every 30-45 minutes, even if its only for 5-10 seconds. Also, walking will help you reduce this disc breakdown. So watch those marathon office sessions and extremely long car rides. They may be contributing to your spinal decay.

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