Here's the Deal with Sitting too Much

productivity Oct 22, 2020

Gripping tightly to my mom’s shoulders, I hobbled from the car to my daughter’s first-grade classroom.  I had just celebrated my 40th birthday, but no doubt I moved like a 90-year-old

I was using my mom as a makeshift walker.     

Looking back on it now, I have no clue how I maneuvered my broken body into a tiny wooden first-grade desk.  After the Back to School presentation wrapped up, one of the other moms put her arm around me to ask what was wrong.

“I’ve got scoliosis,” I sighed, “and this just happens every once in a while.”

She offered to come to my house and rub magic oil on to relax my spasming muscles. Kinda creepy but desperate for any relief, I agreed.

The oil didn’t save me.  

Had I reached a new low in my desperation to stop the back pain?  

After I regained the ability to stand upright, my mission was to sit less.

Sitting is the New Smoking

This phrase caught on like wildfire because it’s dramatic.  

The drama seemed justified because of the science to back it up.  Prolonged sitting caused everything from weight gain to diabetes.

I used to blame my back spasms on spending too much time tied to my desk.  

Sitting is an easy scapegoat, but if you dig a little deeper, it just not moving that’s at the root of the cause.

It’s even zapping your productivity.

Studies show that inactivity is costing the world economies 10s of millions of dollars a year for lost productivity and health care costs.  

You know you need to get up and move.  Maybe the weight of the world of economies depends on it.

Here are some hacks for getting yourself up and moving:

  • Set a timer.  Use your watch, your phone, Alexa... whatever works for you.  After the timer goes off get up and move around.  Refill your water or go pet the dog
  • Put down the phone and get up. Here’s a personal example.  Yesterday I was searching for our Halloween costumes in the office while hubby was watching football in the family room.  When I found the perfect gangster costume accessories on Amazon, I could have walked into the other room rather than texting him a link.
  • Find tasks you can do in other locations.  Get off your butt and take the conference call while you go on a walk.  Respond to your DMs while standing in your kitchen.  

Office Chair vs. Standing Desk

When we all started equating sitting with smoking, the sales of standing desks skyrocketed.  

Confession time: I bought one.  It was awkward and clunky, so I spent hours researching the right office chair to make my back happy.  

There are issues with standing all day too.  Here are a few I came across in my research:

  • Swelling in the lower limbs
  • Drop in cognitive function & productivity
  • Increased chance of heart disease

Try Posture and Health for Office Productivity

Whether you are sitting or standing the way you hold your body matters.  

In a post on focus, we touched on posture and bringing back “recess” with Gloria Sevey owner of Therapeutic Massage and Detox.  Here’s more of our conversation:

“The psoas muscles are a group of muscles that attach the top of our body to our bottom.  This group of muscles engages from sitting/walking/standing in a ‘hunched over’ position and from failure to activate/carry ourselves from our core so ultimately, we become compressed and hunched forward.  This deep group of muscles shorten/engage (compress) and make it very difficult to stand in a posturally aligned position.”

I guess we should have listened to mom when she nagged us to stop slouching.

According to Gloria, once this misalignment has weakened our muscles the slightest twist or bend can cause an injury.  And suddenly you’re using your mom as a makeshift walker into Back to School Night.

Try working on your posture while sitting, standing, or whatever position you find yourself in.  

If sitting is your preferred posture, invest in one of those fancy posture devices instead of a standing desk. I bet you could even use it while standing.

Straighten up, take breaks, and do all the things you need for your health.  If we can work these into our lives, we can go back to sitting pretty.


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