In the year 2018, it’s fairly common for people to have a sedentary lifestyle especially since many people have jobs in the office. Sitting for 6-8 hours a day isn’t all too uncommon and adding to that is the large percentage of people struggling from back problems. If you haven’t already heard, sitting for long periods is a contributing factor to aggravating your back pain. Even worse, it could be the cause of poor back health.
Tight Hip Flexors
As you sit for long periods of time with your back hunched over your desk, your hip flexors would naturally contract and tighten up. Taking into account that our muscles and joints lose mobility as we age, you can already begin to see just how badly sitting for long periods are, for our body. This, in turn, prevents the activation of your glutes (buttock muscles) which brings us to the next point.
Compressive Forces on the Lumbar
As your tight glutes prevent your pelvis from rotating forward, it places undue pressure on your lower back. These not only harm your posture over time but could potentially lead to chronic pain in your lower back. There is a good percentage of people that experience significant disc bulging and the onset of a herniated disc because of a sedentary lifestyle and long periods of sitting, further signifying the importance of abstaining from long periods of sitting.
Aside from that, sitting for prolonged periods of time can affect blood circulation to the lower body, on top of affecting mobility. Poor circulation in the lower body could bring about a whole range of other problems including nerve damage and numbness as well as cardiovascular diseases. It is important to note that one’s body is more prone to these problems, especially at the lower back area as one ages. As such, simply standing up and walking around can ease your tight gluteus and hips, lessening the strain in your lower back.
How to Combat This Problem
At the end of the day, knowing that sitting isn’t good for your back and body alone is not very useful if you do not act to counter the effects. Aside from taking regular breaks every 30 minutes to an hour from your sitting position, it is important to perform light stretches to counter the effects on your muscles and joints after a long day of sitting. Depending on your schedule, a simple morning and evening stretch is more than sufficient to offset the effects. Some common stretches include the hamstring stretch, quadriceps stretch, and the hip flexor stretch.