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Is sitting down worse than smoking?

Some say sitting down is the new smoking, which sure sounds a little extreme... but given how many of us now work from home, is it really that hard to believe?

Whether you're working from home or not, the science is clear sitting down for hours on end is far from ideal and we must do more to curtail the long-term effects of a sedentary lifestyle.

The Problem

When we look at our health and ways to improve our quality of life, it is often our diet and addictions that take center stage.

It's easier to accept that the packet of chips we ate before lunch didn't do us any favours and that we ought to eat more greens.

But when we think in terms of physical activity or a lack thereof, some of the more problematic behaviours for our health are becoming obscured by modern technology.

Whether we're watching movies, playing video games, scrolling on social media or working from home, we are sitting down more than ever before and it's having an impact on our well-being that is easily overlooked.

back pain, working from home, sitting down, laptop, older white lady
Human beings are not built for a sedentary lifestyle. We are built to move.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 55% of adults are not meeting the physical activity guidelines (which suggest a mere minimum of 4 hours exercise per week).

This statistic increases dramatically to 70% for children aged 2 to 17 and a whopping 98% for children aged 13 to 17. In other words, just 2% of children aged 13 to 17 are doing the recommended amount of phsyical activity per week.

This is down right terrifying and a real insight into the challenges that face our kids. Not to mention, the compounded effects of the global pandemic.

"COVID-19 has added extra barriers to being active, especially for organised sport. Health concerns and restrictions – like school closures, gym closures and lockdowns – mean Australians had to change how, and how often, they are active," (Department of Health, 2021).

We know this isn't ground-breaking information: the case for getting up and moving is undisputed.

But the point that needs to be stressed is how dangerous sitting down can be for extended periods of time and the benefits of bringing mindfulness to this practice.

The Impact

So what's the big deal?

Well if you start your work day by making a cup of coffee, sitting down at your desk and then don't move for long stretches of time, your body will gradually feel worse for wear.

After just 30 minutes of sitting, our supportive postural muscles become fatigued and we begin to slouch. This causes our shoulders to roll forward which pulls our head along with it and adds additional stress on our spinal discs.

Unless you work at the House of Mirrors, you can't always tell when you're slouching.

If you're slouching, then you can also bet you're aggravating your tailbone. The tailbone, or coccyx, is a small bony structure at the bottom of your spine which bears the brunt of our body weight when sitting down.

Poor posture puts excess strain on our tailbone.

As the day goes on, your tailbone will rotate outwards and inwards to better support and balance the body. This rotation is why we end up leaning back in our chairs and feel the need to constantly re-adjust in our seat.

Our body also depends on us moving around to be able to circulate blood properly and relieve tension.

So when we forgo the 10 minute screen break or take lunch back to our desk, we're actually developing poor habits that lend themselves to sore butt cheeks, inflammation, restless legs and more.

A poorly designed office space or ill fitting dining chair only exascerbates the strain we put on our bodies and contributes to further compression in our spine and disk degeneration as we age.

The Solution

If you've been working remotely throughout the pandemic, you're no doubt aware of the immense strain you end up putting on your back and buttocks.

An ergonomic desk and work environment is an obvious solution, but there's no need to break the bank. The simple solution is often the best and we believe we've got it.

It's none other than the humble seat cushion and we've redesigned this staple with a thermoplastic polymer rubber to stand the test of time.

The Soflex Endurance Cushion

Unlike most other seat cushions available in the market, the Soflex® Endurance Cushion will always return to its original shape and does not form an impression of its user's tush within a few months.

It is extremely adaptable to any body shape and size and absorbs the pressure on your spine by distributing body weight evenly along the sit bones.

This in turn allows you to maintain the natural curvature in your lower spine and automatically corrects your sitting posture, so you don't end up in the cycle of rotating your pelvis to alleviate tension.

You'll find the Soflex® Endurance Cushion brings you more awareness of your posture throughout the day and is far more breathable and cooling than memory foam alternatives.

Give any chair an immediate upgrade and mitigate risk of degenerating spinal discs today. Check out our fantastic Soflex® Endurance Cushion below or call 1300 825 931 for more information.


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