KANSAS CITY, Missouri - Sitting in your desk chair or sitting while watching TV could be killing you. The good news is there are simple steps you can take to get moving.
According to the Physical Living website the average person sits for 9.3 hours a day.
A person who sits to watch to TV for three hours a day is 64 percent more likely to die from heart disease than a person who doesn’t.
The risk of heart disease increases by 11 percent for each additional hour.
Sitting for long periods causes muscles to tighten which makes injury more likely.
Dispatcher’s at the Johnson County Emergency Communications Center in Olathe say they are fortunate to have ergonomically correct desks.
The dispatchers, who work 12 hour days, can adjust their desks to allow them to stand or sit.
“You can imagine if you were stuck to a console for several hours being able to have that console to your comfort level is really important,” said Ellen Wernicke who is Deputy Director of the communications center.
If you don’t have a movable desk Darcy Carlstedt, a physical therapist with Shawnee Mission Medical Center, says you can make adjustments to how you sit that can help.
She recommends sitting on an exercise ball at your work desk. She says the ball keeps your spine in good alignment. She adds that the bounce is also good for your back.
Carlstedt says another option is to place a rolled towel behind your back or under your tailbone to improve posture.
“That helps not only your lower back but it helps your upper back as well and it helps you feel good. It kind of wakes up your brain a little bit and all of that is healthy for you,” she said.
Personal trainer Kalene Smith with Gold’s Gym in Merriam says it is also important to get up from your desk every 15 minutes.
She says sitting too long causes improper posture and slouching.
Smith adds that stretching muscles daily is very important.
“I notice a lot of my clients come in and their upper back is very weak. We really have to focus on that upper back. Over time you will see their posture as they are walking and just standing becomes better. It allows their core to become stronger,” said Smith.
She says stay active at home by limiting TV time to two hours a day, fold clothes standing up and walk or bike to the store.
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