Do the times when you have to stand for a long time become endless? When this happens, the body has mechanisms to alert us that certain muscles are overloaded and that we need to change positions. This usually does not happen to older people precisely because these cases are usually one-off, but things get complicated when muscles are damaged by constant habits in our everyday life.
The time we have spent sitting, for example, is usually much longer than what we have spent still, and this is bad news for our health.
Spending Many Hours Sitting: A Lasting Poison
We spend most of our working hours sitting down, but in our free time or even in our domestic life, this habit does not change. At lunch, at dinner, watch TV … the same posture for different activitiesThe same weight being distributed over the same area of our body and the same muscle groups while maintaining tension in the same way.
While this is not a harmful position if not maintained for long periods of time, we abuse it a lot and it has negative consequences for our body. Here are a few examples.
1. The lower border of the colony produces varicose veins
That part of the structure that holds you back press the back of your thighs and cuts off blood circulation in a good part of your legs, especially in chairs with a concave surface where the bottom points up. Even if you don’t notice it, over the years it can promote the appearance of these marked veins.
2. It’s bad for the circulatory system
After spending a lot of time sitting, we favor the appearance of high concentrations of fats in the blood, because they are not burned by the muscles. Blockage of blood vessels becomes a little more likely, and may increase blood pressure, Something that is harmful to the whole body, but particularly to the brain, an organ that requires a lot of energy.
3. The body loses its elasticity
This is one of the easiest effects to check directly. Sedentary people who spend many hours sitting tthey have a less flexible and more punished spineThe same goes for the tendons and ligaments, especially the legs, which are gathered in front of the seat. The range of motion becomes much narrower and this lack of flexibility can lead to other problems, such as the high risk of injury to large muscle groups and the propensity to suffer from herniated discs.
While there are ways to counteract this negative effect, such as yoga, prevention rather than cure is ideal.
4. Loss of bone density in the legs
The bones are more or less strong, in part, because of the effort required of them. Some wrestlers spend a few minutes a week hitting a hard surface to strengthen the lukewarm, and the same logic could work the other way around when we’re on a seat: what is not used is lost. Therefore, the risk of osteoporosis would also increase.
5. Promotes the appearance of the curved position
When seated in front of a computer, the head tends to move forward to see the screen and keyboard. This produces a decompensation in the distribution of weight throughout our body in which the shoulder muscles do not come out very well, as they shorten and they are moved forward. Only this fact is already necessary to modify the center of gravity of our body and produce a series of decompensations in posture.
6. Muscles weaken (especially glutes)
The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle of all those that inhabit the human body, and it is also the most punished during the long hours spent in a sitting position. This reduces the concentration of muscle fibers in these areas, as they remain “asleep” due to inactivity, and as a result lose their shape and some of their strength (which is serious given the role of the glutes in maintaining good posture when standing).
Something similar happens with other smaller muscles: sitting may not expect too much, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need it in many other settings. After spending several hours a day in a chair for the past few months, these muscles notor they magically regain their potential by breaking away from the colony. They are still, so to speak, on their low guard, and therefore need to work at the same time to perform movements that should only be performed by a few.
7. The brain undergoes structural changes
One study found that sedentary rats suffered from far more vascular disorders than rats in the control group. We explain this in detail in a previous article: “A sedentary lifestyle causes changes in the brain”.
What can be done to prevent all of this?
The most obvious answer is that we have avoid spending so much time on a chair or sofa. However, assuming that the habit of sitting still depends in part on our obligations and our work, they can follow some recommendations to mitigate the ill effects we have seen:
1. Sit with your torso upright, If possible, and get up for a walk for a few minutes every half hour.
2. Practice different stretches each day., Especially those affecting the hip flexors.
3. Wear a seat without a backrest or fitball the right size to sit on. This will partly prevent the weight from being badly distributed for a long time. The thighs should remain parallel to the floor and the knee should be bent at a 90 degree angle.
4. Remember to keep your head facing your forehead., Without being much shifted forward. The ears should be in line with the shoulders, and the latter behind. If you have trouble seeing what’s on the screen, make the size of what’s on the screen larger or increase the brightness slightly (without burning your eyes!).
5. Finally, do exercises to strengthen your glutes, Such as squats (with or without weights) or frog jumps. Here is a video that may help you: