Rest = Rust: Why Sitting For Long Durations Is Bad For Your Spine? Expert Shares

Sitting for extended periods can lead to spinal issues. Expert explains how sedentary habits contribute to spine health deterioration. Discover physical, practical tips to maintain spine health and prevent “rest-induced rust.”

Rest = Rust: Why Sitting For Long Durations Is Bad For Your Spine? Expert Shares Take Regular Breaks To Stand, Stretch, And Move Around (pic courtesy: Freepik)

It is important to address physical and psychological factors by incorporating regular breaks for physical movement, stretching, and standing, as well as promoting ergonomic workstations and promoting mental health support for individuals who are required to sit for long periods of time. Active Rest means activity which triggers pain need to give rest and activities which anyone can perform within the limits of pain, all these activities need to be performed.

According to Dr Ajay Kumar S P, Consultant - Spine Care, Manipal Hospital Varthur and Whitefield, "Flexibility is key of success. No one wants to lead a life like a chalk piece, where little pressure if we apply it’ll break. We need to lead our life like a small plant, where it withstands if raining, or heavy wind or so on and it stand straight back."

"It applies to spine also. If we sit for long duration or lead sedentary life, spine will become rigid like a chalk piece and it starts troubling even with simple activities which exceed our threshold limit. So, we need to keep our threshold limit high such that we can lead our life like a small plant by achieving flexibility of our spine", adds Dr Ajay.

Health Issues Caused Sitting For Long Hours

Sitting for long durations can contribute to a range of spine-related issues, including as shared by Dr Ajay:

1. Poor posture: Sitting for extended periods can lead to slouching or hunching over, putting strain on the spine and contributing to poor posture.

2. Strain on the lumbar spine: Prolonged sitting can cause the muscles in the lower back to become weakened and tight, leading to strain on the lumbar spine.

3. Reduced spinal flexibility: Sitting for long durations can lead to decreased spinal flexibility, as the muscles and ligaments in the back become shortened and tight.

4. Increased risk of disc herniation: Prolonged sitting can put pressure on the intervertebral discs, increasing the risk of disc herniation or bulging.

5. Degenerative disc disease: Sitting for long periods can contribute to the development of degenerative disc disease, a condition where the intervertebral discs deteriorate over time

How Sitting for Long Hours Impacts Your Body

Physical factors following long duration of sitting include:

1. Musculoskeletal discomfort and pain, particularly in the lower back, neck, and shoulders.

2. Decreased blood flow and circulation, leading to swelling and discomfort in the legs and feet.

3. Weakened muscles, leading to decreased muscle tone and strength.

4. Increased risk of developing chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

5. Decreased flexibility and mobility, leading to stiffness and reduced range of motion in joints.

6. Increased risk of developing posture-related issues such as kyphosis and lordosis.

Psychological factors following long duration of sitting include:

1. Increased levels of stress and anxiety, due to lack of physical movement and the sedentary nature of sitting for long periods.

2. Decreased mental alertness and cognitive function, as a result of reduced blood flow to the brain.

3. Decreased mood and feelings of lethargy and fatigue.

4. Increased risk of developing symptoms of depression and overall decreased well-being.

5. Reduced productivity and motivation, as a result of feeling physically and mentally stagnant.

Tips to Prevent Spine-Related Issues

To help prevent spine-related issues from prolonged sitting, it is important to 

- Take regular breaks to stand, stretch, and move around. 

- Additionally, maintaining good posture and using ergonomic furniture and equipment can help reduce the risk of spine-related problems.