Is sitting the new smoking?

By Hannah E. Whitcombe

Are you taking regular breaks from your desk throughout the day? Chances are, you are not! It has been revealed that the majority of us let an average of 3 or 4 hours pass by without even getting up to take a quick toilet break, and almost half of us admit to regularly having lunch ‘Al Desko’. But what is this prolonged sitting really doing to our health and is it really that bad?

Sitting and neck pain


Well, experts say that ‘sitting’ is the new ‘smoking’! The average Brit spends 8.9 hours per day sitting and this sedentary lifestyle has been linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer and even premature death! Yikes!

As well as these alarming consequences, sitting for extended periods of time is most certainly the culprit for a lot of our aches and pains. The majority of people we see for back and neck pain, are people doing sedentary office-type jobs, suffering the consequences of poor posture.

Poor posture in the office may even contribute  towards permanent postural changes, which affect anything from a painful wrist to altered gut function and poor digestion.

We tend to deny that any of the above directly affects us by saying things like  ‘Yes, I sit for long hours during the day, but I run 2-3 times per week, so surely this doesn’t apply to me? Think again! Three hours of physical activity is a poor counterbalance to 50 hours sat in the same position!

But, there are certainly things we can do to minimise the associated risks. Follow these top tips for your best health…


Take regular breaks throughout the day

It has been recommended that you should aim to get up every 30-40 minutes. Hard as this may sound, all you need to do is ‘get-up’, simple no? There is no specific exercise routine you need to follow, just get up, have a stretch and sit back down.


Stay hydrated
Dehydration is strongly associated with headaches and may even be the cause of low back pain. Especially if said back pain is caused by a dehydrated spinal disc.


Make the most of your lunch break

You have a lunch break for a reason; to give you a break from your desk. Make the most of your break, stretch your legs and get some fresh air! Oh yes, and have something to eat.


Assess your workstation
If you have to be at your desk for long periods of time, make sure that it is set up for your best comfort to avoid postural strain.


Osteopathy West London offer body treatments for the whole body in Ealing Broadway, including deep tissue massage, medical acupuncture and osteopathy. Call now to find out how we can help you on 07387 853192 or BOOK ONLINE

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