I'm sure by now you've read, heard or had a chat with someone about the dangers of sitting for too long... but how much do we really understand the effects prolonged sitting and its impacts on our mind and body? And is a standing desk the solution to the problem? I hear the tag line - "Sitting vs Standing", which can often lead to the question, is a standing desk better than sitting?
The way I think of it, is that we should strive to create better habits that are not just focused on "standing more"... but actually include a variety of sitting, standing and generally being more conscious of our posture. For many of us who spend our days desk-bound, a standing desk is just one way for us to be more efficient at moving more.
With 70 per cent of Australian adults being classed as either sedentary or having low levels of physical activity; and only 7 per cent of Australian children (aged between 15 - 17) that reach the goal of 12,000 steps each day - there has never been a better time than now to start to build better habits around moving more throughout your working day.
But hey, that's just my take on it all :)
Here are 3 great YouTube videos that helped me understand the dangers of prolonged sitting, and why I make it a priority to combat the sedentary lifestyle.
1. Anna-Louise Bouvier – “Happy Body, Happy Mind”
Anna-Louise Bouvier is one of Australia’s most well-known Physiotherapists. She has created Physiocise and Happy Body At Work Programs that deliver well-being strategies for sedentary individuals and workplaces all around our great nation! You can also find a wealth of educational content on her website.
Anna-Louise’s talk - Happy body, happy mind starts by asking the question “If a mind can contribute to the body, can an unhappy body then contribute to an unhappy mind?”
Anna Louise playfully engages her audience by getting them to slump in their chairs take a look around – if you were to build a bridge in the shape of the person sitting next to you how long do you think it would last? And what about the 18 feet of guts that are all scrunched up?!
This is a great video to understand more deeply how sitting can influence your body, mind and mood; but also addresses the seriousness of the problem in modern society.
“Life used to make us strong – what happened?... It was part of life to stand up straight and to be strong.”
Anna-Louise paints a picture of how the development of technology, whilst fantastic - has caused us to stop using our bodies and be stuck in our minds and our thumbs…and we don’t realise that our body is trying to tell us it’s not happy. With examples from past ways of living to the present, her key message is this:
“What we know from the research is, if you sit a little less, and you move a little more, you’ll actually sleep better and stress less. And what that does is that it makes you more resilient”
2. Kelly Starrett – The Stability Problems With Sitting
Kelly Starrett is an incredible Physical Therapist from the U.S. and the founder of MobilityWOD. His YouTube Channel has over 200,000 subscribers, and it is the ultimate guide to optimising athletic performance, mobility as well as injury and pain prevention. He has also recently released the book Desk Bound - Standing Up To A Sitting World.
His video The Stability Problems With Sitting describes how sitting causes a whole array of problems that our bodies just don't like. Kelly takes a look at three principles of a neutral spine (i.e. feet are straight, glutes are engaged, and the stiffening of the abs/core) and compares how these principles are applied when in standing and sitting positions.
Different to other videos I've seen on posture and stability - Kelly goes deep into the anatomy of the body; and looks at sitting through the model of how we stabilise our body through functional movements -
"...what ends up happening is that the pelvis starts gimbling back and forth, and after a while I'm gonna fatigue and I'll start looking for tension - and we call this 'tension hunting', that the athlete or the person sitting down is realising that their fatigued or can't maintain that shape and so they will default to mechanically inefficient positions"
3. The Benefits Of Good Posture - Ted-Ed
This is a great and entertaining video about posture - which is the foundation of every movement our body makes. Whether I'm sitting or standing, I know that if my posture is bad my muscles have to work harder (it's no wonder why slumping gives me a sore back and neck!)
I included this Ted-Ed video because posture shouldn't be forgotten about when talking about the standing vs sitting debate...Plus it's just fun to watch :)
I do hope these videos inspire you to sit a little less, and move a little more!
Nicole @ Ready Set Stand