COVID-19 has required individuals and families to rework their daily routines in a number of unexpected ways. For many, that means staying home, and with limitations on our activities, we may find ourselves sitting at the kitchen table or on the couch a lot more than we’re used to.
However, it’s important to keep our bodies in mind when adjusting to new routines. Sitting for too long may have harmful effects on our neck and spine in the long-term. These negative effects can be avoided with a few mindful steps.
Effects of Sitting Too Long
Research shows that a lack of activity caused by sitting for prolonged periods of time can lead to conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and abnormal cholesterol levels. The sitting position also puts stress on your back muscles, neck and spine, which can eventually lead to more serious skeletal issues or osteoporosis (weakened bones).
We’re far more likely to slouch when we’re sitting than when we’re standing or moving around. Finding a chair with the right height and support can help, but ultimately, your back and neck are much more healthy when you break up your sitting sessions regularly.
How to Avoid Sitting Too Long
Even during COVID-19, there are ways to stay active and prevent back pain. If you’re working from home during quarantine, or you’ve spent a little extra time in front of the screen these days, It’s important to get up and move around every 30 minutes to keep your spine in line.
Find other activities that allow you to practice social distancing as well.
Ways to Get Up and Move During Quarantine
Stand up – Protecting your spine starts with the simple decision to stand up. Every half hour, get up and move around for 1-2 minutes, and find activities around the house that will get you on your feet, such as cooking, cleaning or doing a bit of yard work.
Walking or hiking – Try making time each day for a walk around the block or a short hike, if you live near any walking trails. Even a 15-minute walk every day can do wonders for your cardiovascular and spinal health.
Camping – If you’re looking for something a bit more adventurous, try camping! It’s a great way to spend some time with your loved ones while staying socially distant. You can camp in the woods nearby, or even in your own backyard.
Canoeing – Spending some time on the water can really help relieve stress on your mind and body that you may be experiencing during quarantine. There are single-person canoes or some that fit the whole family.
When planning your day and settling into your new routine, don’t forget to factor in some time to move your body. Your mind and your body will surely thank you. If you’re unsure where to start, talk to your chiropractor for more recommendations.
About the Author
Jenny Hart is a health and wellness writer with a passion for travel, cycling and books. When she isn’t writing or traveling, she’s traversing NYC with her two dogs Poochie and Ramone.