The risk of sitting more than 6 hours a day: 5 protective tips

Leading a long sedentary life is the most current equivalent of the harmful habit of smoking. The World Health Organization has included the sitting as a risk factor when it comes to suffering from cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

And is that the sitting It is one of the great evils of our time because we live in a society that works mostly seated. Until now, several scientific studies had warned that spending many hours sitting in the office was detrimental to blood pressure, caused fluid retention or made us gain weight ... but now, the World Health Organization (WHO) has included the sedentary lifestyle as a risk factor for cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.


We spent two thirds of the day sitting

Sitting more than 6 hours a day harms your health as much as if you smoked a pack of tobacco a day or suffered from acute stress. In many jobs we are sitting more than 8 hours and if we add that amount to 8 hours of sleep and transport and leisure time (television), we could say that we spent 2/3 of our day in a state of extreme sedentary lifestyle.

The fact of going sedentary so many hours a day is already detrimental to our health, however, we can try that our position while sitting is, at least, as appropriate as possible.

"Your back should keep the physiological curves, where the pelvis and the head fall in the same vertical line to the ground, the monitor is a little lower than the line of your eyes, the view covers us an angle of 30º, for that reason reading in short distances we lower our eyes) that does not imply lowering the head, and attention if you wear bifocal lenses, in these cases the screen should go well below what would be recommended.You have to place the chair according to what was described above, that is to say, that the pelvis and the head are in the same line seen in profile, and from there place the height of the table and add a footrest if the feet do not reach well to touch the ground, "says Ana Velázquez, physiotherapist and posturologist, specialist in prevention of musculoskeletal injuries, ergonomics and global postural reeducation of the Performing Arts Prevention Center.


5 tips to avoid that the 'sitting' you pass bill

1. Move: the ideal would be to be able to move between 5 and 10 minutes for every hour we are sitting, but realistically, few office jobs allow this frequency of movement. However, it is necessary to do so as it will help activate the blood circulation of our body. If you can not get up and move, you can perform other exercises while sitting as rotations of your joints: wrists, ankles and neck, which will help the venous return.

Another trick is to put the things you use from time to time (the printer, the clips or the phone) in a place that forces you to get up.

2. Drink and hydrate: one of the main consequences that the sitting On our body is the retention of liquids, so it is important to incorporate diuretic foods to your diet or take infusions or drinks to help us drain those fluids. Ginger infusions are a very good option.


3. Walk: Knowing that you will spend the next 6-8 hours sitting try to walk before and after your office work as much as possible. If you can, go to work or go for a walk after your day. In general, people when they get home usually sit on the couch and watch television for an average of 3 hours, making the hours of sitting even more than those required by working hours.

If this is not possible, try walking in the office while doing other tasks such as talking on the phone, making photocopies *

4. Stretch: with this we are not saying that you stretch out in the middle of your office, but that you perform certain exercises and stretches that will stimulate you, activate you and prevent the rigidity of your muscles. You can take advantage of the moments when you get up or go to the w.c.

5. Visit a physiotherapist and posturologist: We spend so many hours sitting that it is important to know how to do it well. From CPAE have conducted a pioneering study in the international arena that shows that the type of seat you use can change the perception of the subjective visual vertical, that is, that can make you see more or less straight based on your own measurements and references .

How to get well seated

From CPAE argue that when you are sitting is better not to use wedges or seats that incline your posture and support base too forward because if the pelvis, (gluteal area leaning on the seat) is leaning forward one goes to compensate with the lower back, and it will arch more. As a result, more weight will fall in the area of ​​the trapezius (shoulders) trying to compensate for the weight of the head that will also fall forward.

The head weights about 4.5 kilos on average, but placed on the lever forward, the cervical area can get to receive a weight of 16 kilos. Therefore, if we want to free ourselves from the cervical tension generated by the sitting, we must place the buttocks well.

"Seen like this it may seem" normal "for our cervicals to be loaded, but we do not do much of anything in that area, what to do is check the posture when we are sitting in. If, for example, it is hard for you to stay upright when you are sitting and you tend to get caught up in the lack of height in the chair, it is an effective remedy, although the underlying cause is lack of tone and muscle shortening, "says Velázquez, founder of CPAE.

The specialized physiotherapist will teach us to find a position in which the weight of the legs rests on the feet (if in that position the feet do not touch the floor is when you need a footrest) and the weight of the trunk in the pelvis.

Sedentary lifestyle is one of the evils of our century and although it is not easy to combat it, especially during working hours, we can launch other micro actions that take care of our health such as designing desks designed to work standing up, go to work by bicycle or walking, park the car a little farther from the office to force us to walk a little or learn to sit properly.

Irene Núñez Cid
Advice: Ana Velázquez, physiotherapist and posturologist, specialist in prevention of musculoskeletal injuries, ergonomics and global postural reeducation of the Performing Arts Prevention Center.

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