The below is from a series of awareness articles written by the best spine surgeon in Chennai, India.
“If you would seek health, look first to the spine” - Socrates.
That is how important our spine is to our overall health and fitness. Through a series of awareness articles, I will be presenting some factors affecting our spine and how with little lifestyle modifications, we can ensure our spine deserves all the attention that it requires.
I shall start the series with insights on how sedentary living can affect your back and spine health.
Have you heard this phrase before and wondered why? By now, everyone is aware that smoking has various ill effects on our health, and is the foremost reason for cancer, cardiac problems, bronchiectasis and also emphysema. Statistics reveal that over 6 million people die of diseases caused by smoking.
Sitting, like smoking, is the primary cause of many disorders today. When I say sitting, I mean prolonged sitting, sitting for more than 3 to 4 hrs. A sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise and lack of motivation to do any other activity can cause severe issues to our health.
As a child, our backs are designed to sit crouching. As we enter the school-going age, say by the age of 5, we are told to sit erect, and we follow this posture for the rest of our lives. Our body was made to be active, to exercise and run around. Sadly, the chair has become our harness, keeping us confined to a place.
I am sure you would have been warned by elders to sit straight and erect and not slouch. These bits of advice are not without reason. Let me show you some evidence to explain why prolonged sitting is harmful.
One of the direct effects of prolonged sitting and bad posture is the stress on your back, causing frequent back pains. This is because your back muscles are weakened, and your spine is distressed due to wrong postures.
It is a deplorable state of affairs that 6 out of 10 people suffer from back pain above 40. But if you are sitting for very long, you are probably going to advance this to age 30.
So how can you prevent this scenario? Well, let me share some tips.
On average, we work seated for around 6-8 hours a day, and we commute for about 2 hours. So extrapolating this, in our lifespan, we will end up sitting for approximately 32 years!! Isn’t that too long?
So sit smart, and whenever you can, avoid being seated for long periods together. Keep yourself fit. And remember to sit erect every time you do. The future is going to be all sitting, so beware and make your lifestyle changes today.