Health Advances Fight the Dangers of Sedentary Lifestyle

May 12, 2014
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Studies show that those whose workday requires little movement throughout the day can suffer a variety of negative effects. From reduced memory ability, to obesity, a shorter lifespan and bad posture that can lead to chronic pain, there is nothing good about sitting most of the day.

Memory Ability

Studies show that those whose workday requires little movement throughout the day can suffer a variety of negative effects. From reduced memory ability, to obesity, a shorter lifespan and bad posture that can lead to chronic pain, there is nothing good about sitting most of the day.

Memory Ability

A new study shows that sitting is bad for your brain. Researchers at Michigan State University studied 75 students over a two day period through long-term memory retention tests. The study showed that those who were less active had a harder time retaining information and that “cardiorespiratory fitness may be important for the optimal functioning of multiple aspects of high-level cognitive and memory processes.”

Shorter Life Span

Studies have shown that sitting all day can result in a shorter lifespan. Those who sit the majority of the time have a 112% greater risk of diabetes and a 147% greater risk of cardiovascular problems such as heart attacks or strokes.

Bad Posture

When required to remain in a sitting position most of the time, most individuals do not maintain the best posture. Bad posture creates a myriad of problems, from changing our hormone levels, to our mood, energy levels, and the way we present ourselves to others through body language. Additionally, the most problematic result of bad posture is pain due to strain on the cervical region.

Solutions

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In the United States and other Western Cultures, the epidemic of increasingly sedentary lifestyles appears to be growing as more and more jobs require less movement throughout the day. As the problem grows, some are pushing back against this lifestyle and the negative effects it brings.

Standing and Treadmill Desks

To come against the negative effects of sitting, many employees and employers alike are moving toward standing or treadmill desks. While some who switched to a standing desk report fantastic results, some have needed to add a leaning chair into the mix and others reported a decrease in productivity.


While switching to a standing or treadmill desk is a great option, it just isn’t feasible for some types of work.

Sitting on a fitness ball

Another frequently suggested option is switching to sitting on a stability ball. While in theory, using a stability ball as a chair should have the benefit of engaging your abdominal muscles, promoting a stronger core and ultimately, better posture, the reality is that due to muscle fatigue and lack of support, optimal posture is not maintained throughout the day as assumed.

Reports have shown that stability balls simply do not promote good posture overall. Research by Dr. Jack P. Callaghan, holder of the Canada Research Chair in Spine Biomechanics and Injury Prevention at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, has shown that people generally slump just as much on a ball as in a normal chair and that back pain is not reduced.

The Posture Police

Created by three stanford graduates, LUMOback is a wearable which promotes better posture. A small, thin sensor placed on your belt, LUMOback connects to your iphone via bluetooth and is calibrated through its ios app where you can receive real-time feedback. LUMOback becomes your own posture police, making your connected device buzz when you begin to slouch.

For $150, the LUMOback may be a good investment for better posture and a viable option for those who don’t have underlying back problems. However, for those who currently experience pain or have pre existing issues, you may need a more supportive device to ease into better posture.

The ARC

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Recently, Baltimore startup, Verve, launched a Kickstarter campaign for a new product, The ARC. Co-created by Discovery Channel’s Big Brain Theory Winning Engineer, Corey Fleischer, The ARC turns any chair into an ergonomic one, promoting optimal posture.

Those who spend most of their time working at the computer many times adopt forward head posture, which puts a constant stress on the cervical system. The ARCs design is based on the optimal cervical angle, and when used, the neck vertebrae, through gravity and passive pressure from the weight of the head, slowly and safely align into their proper position.

Our bodies aren’t designed to be in a rigid, upright position for long periods of time. Unlike other products, The ARC allows for movement in addition to promoting optimal posture. The ARC can act as a hinge on which your body rests, allowing you to perform back stretches and exercises throughout the day, generating movement and improved blood flow.

The reasonably priced device starts at $30 on Kickstarter as a the early-bird special pledge. Check out the Kickstarter project here.