Michelle Rupp: Hello and welcome into this week’s edition of AFMC TV. We’re so glad you’re joining us today. We are talking about the dangers of sitting too much. We’ve brought in Dr. Beth Milligan, one of the physicians here at AFMC to help us dissect some of the dangers when it comes to sitting so much. Hi Dr. Beth
Dr. Beth Milligan: Good morning.
MR: So Dr. Beth, regardless if we’re working remotely or in an office space, what are some of the dangers when it comes to sitting so long for 8, 9 hours a day? They directly linked sitting too long with chronic medical problems, increased diabetes, even increase in cancer. Some cancers.
MR: So, to say we need brakes is probably an understatement. Right?
BM: Absolutely. We need breaks. We need to stand more. That’s for sure.
MR: So, I’m curious the correlation between sitting too much and some of the chronic health conditions. Any indications how those are linked?
BM: Well, it’s pretty much a simple answer when you stand up and you move, that actually helps the blood circulating through the heart and particularly the colon. So if you’re not moving around and you’re sitting too much you can’t really even move the colon around. And tend people tend to have more gastrointestinal disturbances because of it.
MR: Okay so how long should we be getting up? How often? How long should we be walking? What are some of those numbers to just kind of keep everything moving correctly?
BM: Well, there’s that you’ll get different answers depending on who you ask. But some people are saying for every hour you need 15 minutes where you stand up and walk around. Well, you know, a lot of jobs want to allow that, and students cannot do that so then they’ll turn around and say, well if you sit all day then you need to come home and you need to get 90 minutes of exercise where you’re walking around and getting your heart rate up,
MR: You bring up a good point when you touched on students, what kind of impact is sitting all day in the classroom? And I’m particularly thinking of our elementary age students, the ones who are still in their early developmental years.
BM: Well, that’s a good, very good question, particularly with Children, we run into issues where they sit too much, and they tend to have more problems with weight and and that’s been a problem. We’ve run into an in activity obviously through our younger years increases the chance of developing chronic medical problems much earlier on.
MR: All the more reason why recess is so important.
BM: Right? Absolutely. Absolutely.
MR: Okay, so if we notice that we are sitting too much because sometimes it’s just out of habit and we may not even realize just how much we’re sitting can sitting too much also contribute to maybe lower back pain tight hamstrings, problems with our hips.
BM: That’s yes, correct. They’ve actually did a study of people who sit a lot on their jobs and things actually shorting that hamstring in the back. The big muscle down the back was shortened so when they stand up it hurts and then because it hurts, they sit down more and that’s the opposite thing you need to do and it scares people and then they start developing other problems like lower back problems. If the chair isn’t sitting right and they’re slow down too long or their necks are down, they’ll start having neck pain because they’re hunkered over the computer and a lot of people are at home working and they don’t have theirs ergo metrics, keyboards and computers where you can sit to stand that’s all gone. So as a result, they have all these other problems that we’re starting to see now from just sitting too long.
MR: Are there any stretches that we could do? Just basic stretches to help with working out any of the kinks?
BM: Well, I think first of all saying if you’re in a position, unless you’re on camera with zoom meetings, you actually can get your arms and actually move your arms around and do some exercise and upper body if you’re forced to sit. Another thing I’ve actually seen people do if you can is they’ll put a special thing at their computer where they can pedal a stationary pedal on their on their legs to keep their legs moving. And I have seen someone do that recently and I said that’s really impressive, I need to do that myself, but you can actually do some movements there at the desk. Now, what you’re able to stand, you actually want to do a stretch to the hamstrings, hamstrings being the big leg muscles in the front and the back of the leg. You need to gently, you know, bend over and stretch down as they tell you even before you’re going to run and probably do it right after you stand up to try to get that mobility back where you’re sitting so long.
MR: Can we talk a little bit about some of the kinks in the chain, so to speak, when you’re sitting you have a kink at your hips, and you have a kink at your knees and maybe talk a little bit about the how that can inhibit the blood flow from your toes to your knees to your hips and back down.
BM: You brought up a really good point when we sit too long, you actually increase the risk for that blood to pull down on that leg because you have to get up and move. Even young people can have blood clots in their legs, especially if they’re a little bigger and they have little health problems, you’re setting yourself up for a blood clot, so you want to keep that and so the blood will pull down in the leg and you can get a blood clot in the lower part of the leg and that’s the first place it goes because it’s bent now. Since you break that up and go ahead and answer a question is support stockings and actually own those myself because I have high blood pressure and some few things that makes me at risk for blood clots. So, I do wear support stockings and you can get those at a lot of different places, you can buy some of them that’ll get you up in the compression level. You need to squeeze that blood up while you’re sitting so long.
MR: All things that we need to be thinking about as we age and as we move into more of a remote type of atmosphere, sitting all the time. Not really going out as much.
BM: Correct, correct.
MR: Okay well Dr. Beth is there anything else you’d like to add?
BM: I think it’s just important to keep yourself motivated. If you find yourself sitting too long, it could be connected with other medical problems. You might be depressed, or things are not feeling good. So be sure if you find yourself doing that, you can’t get up and moving around, go ahead and seek a medical advice and find out what you’re doing that maybe is causing you to do that.
MR: Alright. Sounds good. I’m telling you after this conversation. Makes me want to go run.
BM: You do it.
MR: Thanks Dr. Beth for talking to us about the dangers of sitting too long.