Too much sitting is having an increasingly negative impact on our health. Not just as individuals, but as a society. And, it’s getting worse.
COVID-19 thrust us into a state of mass isolation, forcing thousands of people to work remotely.
This seismic shift towards an increasingly hyper-connected digital future has broken down geographical boundaries while creating new opportunities for budding professionals across sectors. But, while remote working or more flexible office-based roles does come with its fair share of benefits, it’s unearthed something shocking—a growing pandemic within a pandemic—back pain.
Back pain is on the up. It’s a pressing pandemic
Back and spine-related ailments are on the up, and it’s an issue plaguing workers the world over.
Since the rise of the remote revolution, droves of workers have taken to their sofas or set up makeshift office spaces—racking up countless hours sitting in unfavourable positions. And, lockdown didn’t help, either.
Being stuck at home has forced people to spend more time sitting in front of the TV, binging on boxsets and gaming.
The result? You guessed it: a spike in complaints of back pain.
A report from Digital Therapeutics discovered that 53% of people in high-isolation situations (those that hadn’t left their homes in more than seven days) reported increased back pain, with 38% in low-isolation situations complaining of back-related issues.
The ‘new normal’ has sparked a sharp rise in back pain—and it’s unsurprising, really. Modern life has made us more sedentary and even before COVID-19, data from the NHS (2016) revealed that back pain is the single biggest cause of disability in the UK, with lower back ailments alone making up 11% of the disability population. Back pain has been a ticking time bomb for a long time—and it’s finally detonated.
Just let that sink for a moment.
Why sitting is harming your back & your wellbeing
If you're sitting down reading this with a dull ache in your back, there’s something you should know: the fact that you’re sitting down too much may be the root of the issue.
Excess sitting has been touted as the new smoking—and for good reason. Sitting down too much presents a range of risks to your health & wellbeing.
Sitting and mental health
When you sit down for extended periods, your mental wellbeing suffers. And, often it happens right under your nose.
Experts suggest that prolonged sitting has that much of a negative impact on your mental health & wellbeing, it can even override the positive effects of exercise.
A sedentary lifestyle can make you feel low, sluggish, agitated, unproductive, and throw you off your axis. That said, sitting down for hours on end—especially while working—will affect your everyday life (including your career), and not in a good way.
Sitting and physical health
In addition to promoting poor posture and compressing your spine, excess sitting can increase your chances of obesity, high blood pressure, excess body fat, unhealthy cholesterol levels, and metabolic issues.
Mayo Clinic found that people who sat down for more than eight hours a day with little or no physical activity had an equal risk of chronic health issues and premature death than those linked to long-term obesity and smoking.
So, what does this tell us about the perils of sitting? Well (**cue alarm bells**), sitting too much will not only contribute to reducing your lifespan, but while you’re alive, you’re likely to suffer chronic ailments—most likely debilitating back pain.
“It’s time to take a stand against back pain.”
We’ve established that sitting too much is harming your back and your wellbeing—but how do you tackle such a pressing issue? Well, the answer (and the vaccine for the growing back pain pandemic) lies in standing up.
Find out how you can prevent a lifetime of back pain by reading ‘don’t be a victim: ways to tackle the ever-growing back pain pandemic.’. Your guide to a brighter, happier, more productive future.