Do you have "Sitting Disease”?

Do you have "Sitting Disease”?


The unfortunate reality is that most of us likely spend too much time sitting.


We sit while at work, in our cars to commute to the office, and then we return home to sit for dinner and watch TV.  When we sit too much, important muscles such as the abdominals and gluteals become weak, and muscles in the shoulders and hips become tight, which may lead to increased stress on the joints contributing to pain.  In addition to what may seem like more minor muscle discomfort, excessive sitting can also contribute to an increased risk of high blood pressure and cholesterol leading to heart disease and stroke, and increased blood sugar levels leading to diabetes. 


Some scary truths: 


Twelve hours is the amount of time per day the average person is sedentary, with physical inactivity being the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality contributing to 3.2 million deaths a year related to physical inactivity.

A sedentary lifestyle has been proven to lead to a number of adverse health effects, including:

If you do have to sit for your job, it is important to use proper body mechanics.

  1. Set your desk chair so your feet are flat on the floor.
  2. Your knees should be equal to, or slightly lower than your hips with your hips pushed as far back in the chair as possible. 
  3. You may consider supporting your upper and lower back with a rolled towel
  4. Your computer screen should be directly in front of you, with the top of the screen positioned approximately 2-3 inches above eye level
  5. Sit at approximately an arm’s length away from the screen. 
  6. If possible adjust the armrests so that your shoulders are relaxed, and are not pushed up towards your ears

Although a more ideal workstation will help decrease some of the harmful effects of sitting, this will not protect you entirely from the prolonged, static postures that most jobs demand. 

The human body was designed to MOVE.

Small changes each day can help prevent the harmful effects of prolonged sitting and assist with improved circulation and posture.  It is important to make it a priority to add movement into your day wherever possible.


Below are a few simple exercises to try to help combat the negative effects of sitting. 


  1. Scapular Retraction with External Rotation


  1. Pectoral Stretch


  1. Hip Flexor Stretch


  1. Hamstring Stretch


  1. Sit to Stand.  


If pain persists as a result of too much sitting, see a Physical Therapist!

Dr. Marygray Stewart Dr. Marygray Stewart is the Clinical Director at Loudoun Physical Therapy. She is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and a Board Certified Orthopedic Specialist. With a strong influence in the local community, her practice has locations in Leesburg and Lansdowne, Virginia.

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