According to the website, Just Stand, global studies show that the average adult sits a whopping 7.7 hours a day. Some results are even higher, with estimates up to 15 hours a day.
With our sedentary lifestyles and service based jobs, these statistics aren’t really surprising. However, sitting and a lack of movement is associated with a wide range of health risks. From cardiovascular disease to blood clots and poor muscular and bone strength, a sedentary lifestyle can shorten your life and lead to poor health.
Below is an image showing nine dangers of sitting.
If you combine a poor diet with a sedentary lifestyle, you’re looking at disastrous results. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), this includes obesity, which affects one out of every three adults. Here are a few of the primary medical conditions associated with obesity:
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Heart Disease
- High Blood Pressure
- Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (excess fat and inflammation in the liver of people who drink little to no alcohol)
- Osteoarthritis (a health problem causing pain, swelling, and stiffness in one or more joints)
- Some Types of Cancer including Breast, Colon, Endometrial (related to the uterine lining), and Kidney
Small changes make a difference
Government guidelines recommend that healthy adults take part in aerobic activity of moderate intensity for at least 150 minutes a week, or vigorous intensity for 75 minutes a week. This may seem like a lot. However, you can begin with small changes such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or parking farther away from your destination. Daily chores like vacuuming and raking leaves can also add to the tally.
For the purpose of this article, lets look at five reasons why moving is so important. As the saying goes, “Knowledge is power,” so let this knowledge empower you to step up your activity.
Range of motion and flexibility
The terms, range of motion and flexibility, refers to how far your muscles can stretch in the appropriate direction and how far your joints can move. This more flexible you are and the farther your range of motion, the less likely you are to become injured. Even more important, flexible muscles are helpful to the rest of the body. For example, if your hamstring muscles, which rest on the back of your upper legs, are tight, it can affect your back and lead to back pain. Therefore, movement is essential to maintaining or improving flexibility and range of motion because you are actively using your muscles and joints.
Core strength refers to how strong the muscles in your midsection are. This includes your stomach and lower back muscles. Everything you do emanates from your core. For example, when you bend to pick up a box or even open the door, your core muscles are engaged. They are helping you maintain balance and transfer power from one side of the body to another. More than that, your core muscles help protect your spine and other vital organs. When you have a weak core, you are more prone to back problems, weak muscles, and even nerve damage.
Movement helps to avoid this because almost all exercises, especially strength training and walking, engage the core. They force your muscles to strengthen and stabilize. A strong core can help you maintain balance, which grows even more important as you age so you can avoid falls. Any way you look at it, your core is important, not only for your looks, but also for your health and function later in life.
You may be surprised to find that exercise plays a vital role in brain function as well. Below are just a few ways it helps.
Exercise is the best natural drug you can provide your brain. It may even help stave off diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
According to the website, Help Guide, “Promising research shows that you can reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s and other dementias through a combination of healthy habits, including eating right, exercising, staying mentally and socially active, and keeping stress in check. By leading a brain-healthy lifestyle, you may be able to prevent the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and slow down, or even reverse, the process of deterioration.”
I think we can agree — improved brain health alone is reason enough to move more!
As noted earlier, lack of movement has serious consequences for your cardiovascular system. Diabetes, strokes, and heart attacks are just three results of not taking care of your heart and cardiovascular system. Paired with a healthy diet, movement is the best way to strengthen and improve your cardiovascular system to avoid dangerous heart disease.
When you stay physically active over time, the results are even better. You’ll be more likely to have healthier cholesterol levels, more flexible blood vessels and improved circulation. Routine physical exercise will also help you maintain or even lose weight.
For those people who have a few extra pounds to drop, look how a weight loss of just 5 to 10% of total body weight can deliver impressive benefits:
- Lowers Cholesterol Levels
- Can Improve Blood Sugar Control
- Reduces Aches and Pains
- Improves Mobility
- Can Improve Breathing
- Improves Sleep
- Reduces the Risk of Sleep Apnea
- Helps Prevent Angina (chest pain caused by decreased oxygen to the heart)
- Decreased Risk of Sudden Death from Heart Disease or Stroke
- Reduces the Risk of Certain Cancers
Self Confidence — The ultimate side effect of moving is how much better you feel about yourself. Ultimately, when you care for yourself though movement, you’ll push yourself to exercise at new levels, taking on new challenges, and achieving new goals. In addition to feeling good from pushing yourself to new heights, you’ll feel good from the chemical changes that occur when you exercise. This makes for a potent combinations that leads to increased self esteem.
How we can help
We’re experts at treating neck, back and joint pain of all types. Our integrated chiropractic clinic in Garland, TX, combines the benefits of chiropractic treatment with the rejuvenating effects of massage and exercise rehab.
Movement is essential for healthy joints and flexibility, but most of us find it challenging to fit effective exercise into our daily routines. And, as we’ve just outlined, when muscles aren’t used, they weaken, leaving them unable to support healthy joint function and range of motion. To combat this, our exercise physiologists provide individualized assessment and instruction.
This may include the use of targeted exercise, resistance bands or light weights to help you regain range of motion, strength and flexibility. Not only can we help you while you’re in our office, but we can also develop at-home exercise programs to keep you on your path. We’ll be happy to set you up with an personalized program, complete with handouts that include instructions and easy-to-follow exercise images.
Here’s the bottom line: Movement is an integral part of life. In order to be the healthiest and happiest person you can be, you must move!
If you’d like to know more about Texas Spine & Wellness and our advanced treatment protocols for joint pain, back pain and neck pain in Garland, TX, give us a call. We’ve helped thousands of people feel better. We’d like to help you too.