This is a good thing, right? I mean collectively as a culture we have recognized that smoking was/ is contributing to much disease and suffering within our cultural framework and have actively taken steps to discontinue its use. Albeit that habit and addiction are a tough thing for people to beat.
So how is sitting the new smoking? A study done by the American College of Sports Medicine found that those whose work involved mostly standing/ walking about, had a 32 percent decrease risk of early death than those who worked in sitting jobs. Our sedentary life, social, commuting, and work styles are feeding the amount of lifestyle disease and depression that is widespread in our country; Mostly because we were not built for it. We were never designed to sit hour to hour, minute to minute, in a fixed position as we draft emails, study in lectures, travel in automobiles, or watch football for hours on end. We were made to get up every day, to forage for or grow food, and hunt to support our families and carry on our evolutionary genes.
Our body is made of various materials, all of which are fixed to, intertwined, and dynamically connected with fascia. Think of fascia as this spider web material that is easily molded and tapered with every movement. This fascia is what enables us to move all of our individual muscles, bones, nerves, arteries, veins as a singular vessel - Our Body.
If we spend a majority of our time in one position, our bodies will become molded tn that position. This leads to decreased mobility. Decreased mobility translates to poor movement strategies which leads to poor quality of life.
How can you gauge how sitting is affecting your life?
Pain, or lack of health, is one way to know that you are not moving enough. But, we do not want to wait until warning signs show up to take action for our health do we? We must be proactive here.
The Sit to Stand and Stand to Sit Test
To perform this test you simply evaluate how you go from a standing position to sitting position on the floor, and from sitting to back to standing. The goal is to perform these motions in one fluid movement without the use of knees, hands, or props. Sound impossible? View a demonstration of the test below.
If you perform the test as demonstrated, you receive 5 points for standing to sitting, and 5 points for sitting to standing, totaling 10 points. Then, subtract one point for every form of assistance used: hand, knee, hand on knee, chair, etc. (Minus half a point if there is a sudden plop to the ground from standing to sitting).
Researchers out of Brazil monitored 2,000 people and they found that there is a high correlation between your point system and your longevity of life. For every point you have you experience a 21% increase in longevity. Neat huh?
Try it out and post your results here.
Social change begins with ourselves. Self awareness is the first step. Encourage your friends and loved ones to try out the test. If they do not like their score, encourage them to move more with you.
Dr. Drwencke is a sports chiropractor, speaker, & clinical athlete in San Francisco. Her posts reflect some of the day to day interactions and questions from patients and clients. Dr. Drwencke strives to empower people through injury rehab and sports performance to lead healthy, productive lives.