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St Paul MN Chiropractor | Sitting Disease Part 1

In the last several decades, modern technology has brought people together in many new ways. While we all enjoy the conveniences electronic technology offers, it is also taking a toll on our bodies and our health. Chiropractors are warning against new health risks for an increasingly butt bound culture.

Our modern day sedentary lifestyles, both at home and in the workplace are costing us our health! The amount of time we are spending on our butts is resulting in physical aches – such as back pain, neck pain, headaches and many other health conditions.

Sitting Disease?

Even if you think you have an energetic lifestyle, sitting is how most of us spend a good part of our day. And it’s killing us — literally — by way of obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. All this downtime is so unhealthy that it’s given birth to a new area of medical study called inactivity physiology, which explores the effects of our increasingly butt-bound, tech-driven lives, as well as a deadly new epidemic researchers have dubbed “sitting disease.”

Sitting Disease?

You probably won’t find it in medical dictionaries, but a problem that has come to be known as sitting disease is rampant in the USA. The term captures how many people are glued to their seats for hours at the office, in their cars or collapsed in a heap in front of a high-def TV.

Sitting Too Much Is A Health Hazard!

Current research findings are revealing that too much sitting during the day is detrimental to a person’s health.  The phrase “sedentary behavior” comes from the Latin word “sedere,” which means, “to sit.” Although the human body is made to be in frequent motion, people can sit for many hours at a time, day after day. Two major contributing factors to the obesity epidemic in the U.S. are a lack of physical activity and sitting too much.

Government statistics suggest that almost half of us report sitting more than six hours a day; 65% say they spend more than two hours a day watching TV.

But it’s taking a toll on health. A recent study showed that if people spent less than three hours a day sitting, it would add two years to the average U.S. life expectancy. And research has linked sitting too much to increased risks of diabetes and death from cancer, heart disease and stroke.

Due to technology’s sedentary seduction, you can shop, pay bills, order take-out and delivery, navigate the stock market, and darn near make a living, without so much as standing up. And the consequences of all that easy living are profound.  Our modern sedentary lifestyle is killing us!  Now that should scare you!

Sitting Too Much Should Scare You!

And even if you exercise, you’re not immune. Consider this: We’ve become so sedentary that 30 minutes a day at the gym may not do enough to counteract the detrimental effects of eight, nine, or 10 hours of sitting. The longer you spend sitting each day, the more likely you are to die an early death — no matter how fit you are

According to James Levine, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, 1 in 3 Minnesota adults is either diabetic or pre-diabetic, and one in four is obese. The underlying ailment… “sitting disease.” “Sitting is sort of the new smoking,”.  Sitting, it turns out, can shorten life expectancy almost as much as smoking can, which highlights just how damaging inactivity can be, particularly for the heart. (When doctors compare anything to smoking, you know they mean business)

So if exercise alone isn’t the solution, what is? Fortunately, it’s easier than you think to ward off the perils of prolonged parking. Just ramp up your daily non-exercise activity thermogenesis — or NEAT, which stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. That’s the energy (i.e., calories) you burn doing everything but exercise. It’s having sex, folding laundry, tapping your toes, and simply standing up. And it can be the difference between wearing a sarong or flaunting your bikini on the beach on your next vacation.

In his groundbreaking study on NEAT, the Mayo Clinic’s Levine used motion-sensing underwear (pretty hot, huh?) to track every single step and fidget of 20 people who weren’t regular exercisers (half of them were obese; half were not). After 10 days, he found that the lean participants moved an average of 150 minutes more per day than the overweight people did — enough to burn 350 calories, or about one cheeseburger.

Fidgeting, standing, and puttering may even keep you off medications and out of the doctor’s office. Think of your body as a computer: As long as you’re moving the mouse and tapping the keys, all systems are go. But let it idle for a few minutes, and the machine goes into power-conservation mode. Your body is meant to be active, so when you sit and do nothing for too long, it shuts down and burns less energy. Getting consistent activity throughout the day keeps your metabolism humming along in high gear.

When you get out of your chair and start moving around, you turn on fat burners. Simply standing up fries three times as many calories as sitting on your butt, according to Levine. And, he adds, “NEAT, which stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, activity can improve blood flow and increase the amount of serotonin available to the brain, so that your thinking becomes sharper and you’ll be less likely to feel depressed.”

Our Bodies Are Meant To Move Not Sit!

The human body was designed to do one thing… MOVE…  not sit, and any long term position without motion is going to cause problems! Our bodies just weren’t designed to be this inactive. Yet, hi-tech advances in civilized societies within the last 50 years have created an environment that promotes sedentary behaviors.

Sit Less, To Live More

Shake things up throughout the day by interrupting your sedentary stints as often as possible. Stand up every half hour. If you have to sit for longer than that, take more extended and active breaks and move around for a few minutes before sitting back down.

Don’t sit if you can stand, don’t stand if you can walk. (Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin both knew that standing for work was a good thing.  Both of these great Americans had stand up workstations).

When you’re reading e-mail and taking phone calls, do it standing. Walk with colleagues to brainstorm ideas. And consider trading your chair for a stability ball. “It forces you to engage your muscles, and you’re likely to stand up more because you’re not melting into a chair,” Lentz says.

At home, it’s simple: Limit TV time to two hours a day or less. Better yet, watch it from a treadmill or exercise bike. Among women, the risk for metabolic syndrome — a constellation of health woes including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar — shoots up 26 percent for every hour per day they spend watching the tube.

Stop sitting on the problem!  It’s never too late to change your couch potato ways!!!

Not sure how much of a difference these mini moves will make? Swapping a more active approach for just a few of your daily activities can help stave off the one-to two-pound weight gain most women accumulate every year — and it can keep your metabolism buzzing the way nature intended it to.


It’s never too late to jumpstart a healthy lifestyle to undo the damage from your couch-potato ways!  Minnesota might be the Fittest City in America, but there is always room for improvement!  There are a million different ways you can incorporate movement into your life. The type of activity is irrelevant.  All that matters is that you get up and MOVE!!!

Make being healthy a priority and find ways to get and stay healthy this summer!

Talk to your St Paul MN Chiropractor about ways to improve your health.  Your chiropractor can also advise you on vitamin supplements to take that will help you lead a healthier life, such as taking vitamin D, vitamin C and reducing your sugar intake.

Get the message out with this infographic!  PDF downloads are available as a poster or a flyer.

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