Sudbury·Wellness Column

Sitting all day is deadly for body and mind, Sudbury chiropractor says

The amount of time sitting that many people do in a day is very unhealthy, says Sudbury chiropractor Dr. Sherrie Guillet.

Sitting 'increases our risk of cardiovascular disease, possibly kidney disease, even some types of cancers'

Sudbury chiropractor Sherrie Guillet with the Complete Family Chiropractic & Wellness Centre says people who work at a desk all day should stand up for a few minutes every half hour. (Jan Lakes/CBC)

It's been found that sitting is bad for your health, so much so that's it's being called the "new smoking". In this edition of our Health Column, the CBC's Jan Lakes speaks with Sudbury chiropractor Sherrie Guiette to find out what we can do about it. 7:24

The amount of time sitting that many people do in a day is very unhealthy says Sudbury chiropractor Dr. Sherrie Guillet.

When we are sitting, we are in a flexed position, bent forward in all the joints — and that's not ideal for the human body, she says.

"Extending out all the different joints ... is what we want to do. Sitting is reversing that natural need for our bodies to extend."

She noted that, when "you look at people who have some type of brain injury — decreased oxygen to their brain like cerebral palsy or a stroke — they regain that flex posture again." Guillet said. "That is showing a decrease in brain function."

Sitting has a similar effect, and being flexed all the time affects our ability to concentrate.  That is why it is so important to get up at least once every 30-45 five minutes for a few minutes to extend all our muscles and joints, Guillet said.

Sitting "increases our risk of cardiovascular disease, possibly kidney disease, even some types of cancers."

Here are three simple exercises you can do at work:

People don't realise how much they are in that posture, Guillet said: You get in the car, sit all hours a day, eat dinner and then sit on the couch.

The way to combat the problem is to find ways to stand during the day. Stand when you talk on the phone or staple papers together, Guillet said.

"Standing desks are really great, so you can alternate [between sitting and standing]," Guillet said.

"Some people have even incorporated treadmills at their desk."

But normalizing this kind of behaviour in the office can also be a challenge, Guillet said.

"We can tell people to do all these exercises, [but] once they get to their workplace they start to do it less and less, because people will look at them like, 'what are you doing?'"

Guillet said she would also like to see standing desks put in the classroom for children to use.

edited by Wendy Bird

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