FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Are you sitting yourself to death? Americans are spending more time sitting in their offices, driving or binge-watching shows.
Billy Childress, a pharmaceutical representative, says he spends almost 75% of his working hours driving his car. He suffers from back and leg pain. “Occasionally I will walk with a limp,” he said.
Whether in a driver’s seat, an office cubicle or a couch, these days sitting is what many people do much of the time.
“We sit all day at work, we get up for lunch and go home from work and we watch Netflix,” said Kasey Kruse, physical therapist at Texas Physical Therapy Specialist in Plano.
He says sitting doesn’t mean we are resting. “When we are sitting we are not getting that blood flow, we are not getting that muscle pump in our body,” he said. “So things get stagnant.”
Short term risks can include neck and back pain. Over time, your risk goes beyond physical pain. A recent American Cancer Society study found sitting for six or more hours a day was linked a nearly 20% higher rate of death compared to those who sat for less than three hours a day.
THE 20-8-2 RULE
Kruse advises following the 20-8-2 rule. Which means for every 20 minutes of sitting at home or at work, you should stand for eight minutes and move for two minutes. Kruse says it is advisable to constantly move and change up position even while sitting. “Your best posture is your next one,” he said.
What about standing?
Standing for too long can stress the ligaments and muscles on your legs and back. Kruse says you should follow the same 20-8-2 rule while standing.
“When you are standing for 20 minutes, lets do eight minutes of sitting and two minutes of moving,” he said.
Childress sneaks in some exercise while on the road. When he takes breaks, he walks around the car a few times to stretch out his legs and back.
THE COUCH POTATO
If you are binge-watching shows… watch out! According to AT&T, it would take almost 10 days to watch all 12 seasons of the Big Bang Theory. And almost nine days to watch the first seven seasons of the Game Of Thrones. It is important to switch up your sitting positions while watching shows and taking breaks in between episodes.
“if you are reaching the point on Netflix if it is asking you if you are still watching, it is probably time to take a break.” Kruse said