So what is the Sitting Disease? Are you kidding me? Sitting can make you sick? Actually, yes! Yes, it can. In fact, it can make you very sick because bodies were made to move. Did you ever have a pet that was in a cage that was too small? The pet couldn’t move as much as it needed to and it developed cage paralysis. Then it died. The sitting disease won’t kill you but it will make you feel pretty miserable. Some of your muscles won’t function properly and will become – in effect – paralyzed.
How Do We Get The Sitting Disease?
Most of us sit way too much and move our bodies way too little. We can kind of “get stuck” in the position that we use the most — sitting. The muscles in the front of our abdomen, hips, and legs get short and stiff from not moving. Our legs get weak. Our feet don’t bend as well as they should.
Imagine that you sit while you go to work and then you sit at a desk. You sit while you eat lunch and then go back to your desk where you continue to sit. Sit on the way home and while you eat your evening meal. And then sit some more while playing on the computer or watching television or reading. That’s a lot of sitting and your body knows it! So it complains. It gets stiff. It becomes harder for you to get up from a seated position or to walk up stairs. It’s harder to breathe. You get weaker.
Why Is Overcoming Sitting Disease Important?
The reason why this matters is because you may have more pain. Life will be harder. You will feel old before your time.
This happened to my friend, Rosalie. She got to the point where she couldn’t walk up the stairs at night to go to bed. Her legs were too weak. She had to crawl like a puppy. She had diabetes and couldn’t breathe well. Her heart didn’t function as well as it used to. She had the sitting disease but with all of her doctors, not one gave her that diagnosis. (Doctors just think that we are getting older or maybe they don’t realize that bodies need to move to stay healthy.)
One day when she was just making conversation with one of her doctors, Rosalie asked, “Do you think I should start walking?” And the doctor said yes. She wasn’t happy about that, so she asked some other doctor and he said, “I think that would be a wonderful idea!” Rats!
She started walking in her house and then in her backyard. Eventually, she was able to walk around the block and then for half a mile. Now, Rosalie walks with poles, fast and far. When she went back to her doctor, he said, “No one ever gets better after they start to see me, but you are better!”
How To Overcome Sitting Disease?
If you spend a lot of time sitting, you can start taking steps now to avoid the sitting disease. If you already have symptoms of it, you can start now, too. Start moving your glorious body. If you have to start with the baby-steps like Rosalie did, that’s okay.
You can walk, ride a bike, climb small inclines, go to a gym, and lift your arms and legs while in bed. Being in a swimming pool is a great way to move your muscles and joints, even if you cannot swim. Walk through the water to create resistance and build muscle and strength.
If you can, take lots of movement breaks at work. If you cannot take many breaks, think of ways to use various muscle groups while working. Squeeze your buttocks; lift your toes and your lower legs. Stretch at your desk or in the lavatory.
There is a truth in the saying “Use it or lose it”. I don’t want you to lose the ability to walk or move. I don’t want you to lose your strength or health. Use it. Don’t lose it. You don’t have to have the sitting disease.