sitting, posture, health

The Art of Active Sitting

Spending 8-plus hours at your desk doesn't have to ruin your body. Add these 5 daily movements to your routine.

You’ve heard the news by now: Sitting is the new smoking. It’s been linked to an increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and early death. Not to mention possible potato-like proportions. But with most of us logging hours at desk jobs (and recovering from hard workouts with Netflix binges), can it really be that bad?

Yes, indeed, says Vladimir Friedman, DC, CCSP, of Accelicare Sports Chiropractic in Manhattan. “When you’re in an improper slouched or seated posture for extended periods of time, there is physiological change in the body," he says. "In addition to the proven disease risks, things start to lock up. Tissues can weaken and the effects can be degenerative.” (In fact, Friedman often shows clients how to apply kinesio tape in a crisscross pattern at the low back to teach them how to stay in proper alignment when sitting.) 

Friedman likens the idea to time spent in a cast: When muscle tissue is continually immobile, it shortens and shrinks over time and weakens. But give your body a load using your own body weight—from standing to squatting to taking a walk—and the measure of stress provided helps strengthen it.

“Movement brings hydration and nutrients to the tissue and activity keeps it healthy, so even though our jobs and evolving ‘mobile’ technologies are making us more prone to sit and press buttons, we need to think actively and sit actively,” he says.

In other words, don’t just get up for breaks, but rather do things that will keep your tissues mobile and fluid throughout your day—and life. Here, Friedman’s sit-active guideline: