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Many young people begin to lose their flexibility in their 20's and 30's and seldom regain it. The main problem is laziness. There is no point in lying/being overly tactful about this...
A lot of people sit too much: on the sofa, at a desk, in a car. The lower body becomes weak, the buttocks spread and the waistline grows. Circulation is impeded.
Sedentary lifestyle/work habits are now considered to be a major cause of illness in modern society. Sitting for hours on end is now considered to be virtually as bad as smoking.
Metabolism slows down 90 percent after 30 minutes of sitting. The enzymes that move the bad fat from your arteries to your muscles, where it can get burned off, slow down. The muscles in your lower body are turned off. And after two hours, good cholesterol drops 20 percent. Just getting up for five minutes is going to get things going again. These things are so simple they’re almost stupid.
Sitting for lengthy periods of time is bad for the body. It causes muscles to tighten, circulation to suffer, the eyes to become fixed and the mind to dull. The legs, lower back and shoulders typically become weak, tight and often quite painful.
When a person sits for upwards of 30 minutes, their metabolism slows down considerably. The body becomes dormant. This has serious consequences for our health.
How you sit
People sit in appalling positions. The mind is so engrossed in watching the TV or the computer that posture and alignment is ignored. Then people complain that they have a bad back...
Sitting makes it hard to do things. We become comfortable just sitting and it becomes hard to move around. Apathy sets in and we want to do even less.
Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV, and is more treacherous than parachuting.
We are sitting ourselves to death. The chair is out to kill us.
(Professor James Levine, The Mayo Clinic)
When adults fail to move around frequently and stretch, their bodies become stooped as the muscles shorten. Lower back problems arise from sitting too much. There is a general decline in suppleness, flexibility and mobility.
Posterior pelvic tilt
One common back problem many people exhibit is called a 'posterior pelvic tilt'. It is caused by standing badly and sitting badly.
"Can't be arsed"...
Excess sitting can lead to under-developed gluteus maximus muscles; which is bad for the back in particular. Weakness in these large muscles can affect the whole body.
It is not uncommon to see people sitting (or standing) bolt upright in a military-style pose. This may look healthy but it isn't because it is forced/contrived. It is the by-product of tension.
Poise is not something that you hold. It is not a yoga posture. Poise is your bearing...
Animals tend to have great poise. How come humans do not? The answer is simple. We operate in an artificially constructed environment that is not fundamentally healthy.
We do things that are unnatural; such as sitting for long periods of time, slouching and slumping. Humans no longer need to move around as much in their everyday lives. The outcome is deterioration.
or reclining while awake is associated with lower muscle strength, risk of
falls and physical function, sometimes irrespective of the amount of
moderate or vigorous intensity physical activity you do. People who sit for
prolonged periods are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, higher waist
circumference and obesity.
(Professor Dawn Skelton)
You've had a hard day at work and you want to relax. That's perfectly understandable. So, you watch something on Netflix (or whatever suits your inclination).
This may be a relaxing experience. There's nothing important to think about. Zero activity. But it also tires you out... Especially if you are reclining to watch a wall-mounted TV.
The posture isn't great and your eyes are actually doing quite a lot of work.
Consider this - Alexander Technique people encourage their students to lie on the floor and do constructive rest. Lying down helps people to feel relaxed and at ease. They also feel tired.
The Alexander teacher explains that the tiredness is a reflection of how you really are, of how fatigued you are. This is true in part. But not the entire truth. You also feel tired because you are lying down.
Our body associates lying down with being asleep, so of course we feel drowsy and tired.
Sitting is actually tiring... maybe not as much as lying down, but our sitting posture can make us feel worn out. Our posture can make the body feel fatigued and the flickering screen makes our eyes tired.
A night of doing nothing
Sitting usually leads to even more sitting... so, you spend the night binge watching a program on Netflix. Has this experience enhanced your life in some way?
Maybe it was fun.
But, a lot of TV programs are highly stressful. They feature violence, horror, distress and anger.
Do even less
One side-effect of excess sitting is that we don't actually do things that need doing. We just sit and ignore them.
3 April 2015
Last updated 11 October 2021