Stand up and stretch.
Regularly.

StandUp activity
StandUp for macOS macOS App

The desktop app to help you
improve sitting habits.

A little regular stretch will make your body healthier.

Download on the Mac App Store
StandUp settings
Define intervals
StandUp notification
Stretch regularly

What's wrong with sitting?

While sitting, try to hold your spine straight for only 10 minutes. It is likely that you will relax and slouch soon, as your muscles can't withstand such load.

Straight posture
Correct posture
Slouched posture
Slouched posture

Now, what happens when you sit all day long for many years?

Your tired muscles relax, and the body weight is carried by the spine, putting all the pressure to the intervertebral discs and ligaments. The discs and ligaments are overloaded, and start to degenerate.

Some muscles and ligaments shorten, some get tight. Muscle disbalances develop, forcing you to stand, walk, move, and exercise incorrectly.

Long-term sitting consequences

Eye Eyes
  • Near-sightedness

    Lenses' muscles get tight from focusing to the display's short distance most of the time.

  • Dry eyes and blurred vision

    Low blinking rate keeps the eyes dry, irritated.

  • Headaches, neck pain

    Moving the eyes constantly among the keyboard, display, and the documents, makes the eyes' muscles overstrained.

Upper Trunk Upper trunk
  • Cervical disc degeneration

    Forward-head posture overloads the cervical discs, potentially causing disc bulge and nerve irritation.

    Headaches, and hands' tingling or sensitivity issues, are the consequences.

  • Muscle disbalances

    Static posture with hands on a keyboard leads to an overload of nape muscles, and weakness of scapulae muscles.

    The result is a chronic neck pain, and rounded and elevated shoulders.

SPine Low back
  • Lumbar disc degeneration

    Slouched sitting position in a chair overloads the intervertebral discs, potentially causing disc bulge and nerve irritation.

    Chronic back pain, tingling or sensitivity issues of the feet, are the consequences.

  • Bone degeneration

    Overloaded discs dehydrate, crack, and degenerate. Worn out joints and inflammation makes the body react by changing the bone structure.

    Bones get weak, and spine gets less flexible, resulting in more pain.

  • Weak deep abdominal muscles

    Unused muscles are weak, providing no spine support.

    The lumbar spine is vulnerable when lifting weights for example.

Lower Trunk Lower trunk and limb
  • Muscle disbalances

    Short psoas muscles drag the lumbar spine forward. Short hamstrings tilt the pelvis backward.

    Together with weak glutes, the pelvis and thus the spine, is not held in a neutral position.

    Body flexibility is reduced, overstraining the spine.

  • Knee issues

    Cartilages need movement to absorb nutrients and regenerate. Sitting causes knee degeneration.

  • Poor blood circulation

    Sitting puts pressure on the blood vessels, reducing the blood flow.

    Legs do not get enough oxygen and nutrients.

What shall I do?

The negative effects of everyday sitting can't be fully compensated. However, you can reduce it at least.

  • Use the StandUp App to interrupt your sitting. A quick stretch every 30 minutes would do.
  • Find yourself a decent physical therapist to correct your muscle disbalances.
  • Walk at least 6000 steps a day, which is about an hour of walking, enough to nourish the discs.
  • Keep a straight sitting posture, and change your working position often.

    There are many options: regular chair, exercise ball, kneeling chair, dynamic sitting, standing desk, lying position.

    The rule of thumb: If you feel tired and can't keep a straight sitting posture, change your working position.

More about intervertebral discs

There is a disc in between each vertebra. Discs are cushions for your spine, absorbing shocks and giving your spine flexibility.

The discs consist of an outer layer called anulus fibrosus - a strong fibre cartilage, and an inner gelly-like core called nucleus pulposus - a shock absorber.

Spine
A disc between two vertebrae

While muscles get tired and you feel that strain, cartilages do not offer such a feedback luxury. That's because the spine cartilages do not contain nerves. You can't feel their overstrain. And that's the most dangerous thing about them.

What do cartilages need

Cartilages need movement to regenerate. A lot of movement. Movement is the only way for cartilage to absorb nutrients from surrounding tissues, because they do not contain blood vessels.

Disc degeneration

  • Permanent static pressure on the cartilage results in tear development.
  • Lack of movement prevents the discs to absorb nutrients. Discs degenerate and do not regenerate.
  • Slouched posture pushes the nucleus pulposus to the back, making its way through. This is called a disc bulge.
Spine detail straight
Correct posture
Spine detail slouched
Slouched posture

There is hope!

It's important to realise that the only one who can really help you is you. You're the only one who decides how you treat your body.

If you have no back issues yet, listening to our advice will help you keep your spine healthy.

If you already have back issues, sticking to our advice is essential to prevent any spine flare-ups.

We wish you a healthy spine, and hope our StandUp for macOS StandUp App together with the information here will help to improve your working habits to keep your body healthy.

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Copyright © 2019 Pavel Lobodinský.

Many thanks to all my friends and app users, who provided me with precious feedback. You're the best.

Special thanks to:
Barbora Sokolová, my wonderful physical therapist, for web site fact-checking and endless efforts to get my weak body back into shape.
Antonín Grund, my dear friend, for app beta testing, web review and the never-ending flow of brilliant ideas.
Jana Volencová, my documentation master, for copy editing.