Right now, you’re probably sitting down to watch this video and staying seated for a few minutes to view; it is probably okay.
But the longer you stay put, the more agitated your body becomes. It sits there counting down the moments until you stand up again and take it for a walk.
That may sound ridiculous. Our bodies love to sit, right? Not really.
Sure, sitting for brief periods can help us recover from stress or recuperate from exercise.
But nowadays, our lifestyles make us sit much more than we move around, and our bodies simply aren’t built for such a sedentary existence.
In fact, just the opposite is true.
The human body is built to move, and you can see evidence of that in the way it’s structured. Inside us are over 360 joints, and about 700 skeletal muscles that enable easy, fluid motion.
The body’s unique physical structure gives us the ability to stand up straight against the pull of gravity. Our blood depends on us moving around to be able to circulate properly.
Our nerve cells benefit from movement, and our skin is elastic, meaning it molds to our motions.
So if every inch of the body is ready and waiting for you to move, what happens when you just don’t?
Let’s start with the backbone of the problem, literally. Your spine is a long structure made of bones and the cartilage discs that sit between them.
Joints, muscles and ligaments that are attached to the bones hold it all together. A common way of sitting is with a curved back and slumped shoulders, a position that puts uneven pressure on your spine.
Over time, this causes wear and tear in your spinal discs, overworks certain ligaments and joints, and puts strain on muscles that stretch to accommodate your back’s curved position.
This hunched shape also shrinks your chest cavity while you sit, meaning your lungs have less space to expand into when you breath. That’s a problem because it temporarily limits the amount of oxygen that fills your lungs and filters into your blood.
Around the skeleton are the muscles, nerves, arteries and veins that form the body’s soft tissue layers. The very act of sitting squashes, pressurizes and compresses, and these more delicate tissues really feel the brunt.