Sitting is the New Smoking: How to Beat a Sentient Lifestyle

Let’s cut right to the chase. Sitting for too long is making us sick. We have often heard that sitting for extended periods can lead to back trouble, weight gain, and a decline in overall health.  But just how extensive is the damage? Beyond back trouble, “sitters” experience neck strain, poor circulation, muscle degeneration, and even heart disease and cancer.

Desk jobs, an abundance of screen time, and other factors cause us to sit more, move less and become unhealthy.  While some sitting is natural and inevitable, the culture of desk jobs and use of cell phone and other digital devices make this problem more pervasive.  

So what can we do to counteract the effects of sitting when we know we have to do some amount for our livelihood?  


  1. Find Support: Feet should comfortable reach the floor, hips and knees should be the same height and forearms should rest comfortably and even with the chair’s armrests. And most importantly, sit all the way back in the chair and don’t lean forward!  This gives you better posture, which is linked with clearer thinking and overall better health. An exercise ball is also an excellent alternative to a regular desk chair as it forces you to engage your core to stay upright.

  2. Get Moving: During the work or school day, sprinkle short bursts of activity in between periods of sitting.  Strive to move for at least one minute every half hour.  Beyond that be sure to get regular exercise during non work hours.  This will help balance the effects of sitting.

  3. Stretch: Try yoga moves like hip flexor stretches or the cat/cow to keep muscles flexible and healthy.

So while a desk job or student lifestyle isn’t necessarily a death sentence, it can be harmful if not managed properly. Take the time to learn the tricks and tweaks that will work best for you in your situation to make each day a little healthier.  Visit Benningfield Chiropractic for a posture check up and overall health assessment by calling 390-692-6800 or emailing for an appointment at one of our two office locations. And don’t forget to ask about our upcoming “Surviving Sitting” seminars, to be hosted at our Peoria office in January.