Well it's been about 3 months since COVID-19 has forced us all to change our way of living and to adapt to things such as maintaining physical distance and working or studying from home. One issue that has likely remained consistent is that the majority of us are sitting wayyy too much, especially during this pandemic!
I'm sure that many of those reading this blog post have heard or are aware that sitting is linked to many diseases but in case you didn't know, I'll be sure to touch on that subject a little later. For now let's pivot and take a step in a slightly different direction to discuss how too much sitting can actually affect a whole heap of things including your memory, impulse control and even coordination.
Work, study, driving, relaxing... We spend far too much time sitting and being sedentary!
When we are in motion, the neurological pathways especially from our legs provide the primary sensory input to two regions of our brain: the cerebellum and frontal lobe. What this means is that if you're sitting too much then you aren't stimulating or developing those areas of your brain. Why is this so important? Well that's because of the function of these two regions of your brain which we'll delve into next.
Your cerebellum controls coordination of your voluntary movements. This would include your balance, judging distances while moving and knowing when to stop, and also rapid alternating movements. So for those of you who consider yourself naturally clumsy, it may actually be due to your cerebellum not functioning optimally.
Your frontal lobe is incredibly important for your mental, physical and overall health! It controls cognitive skills and your ability to process thoughts. This includes emotional expression, memory, problem solving, judgment, impulse control, spontaneity and even social and sexual behaviour to name a few.
A lot of "who you are" comes from how well your frontal lobe has developed and how well it functions
With regards to physical effects, your frontal lobe is responsible for inhibiting the sympathetic nervous system. Your body activates the sympathetic nervous system when you're under excessive stress. This response is necessary in some situations, but if it's always switched on then it's terrible for your health. It's exhausting for your body to stay stuck in a sympathetic state for prolonged periods and it causes chronic, low-grade inflammation that affects your organs.
When your spine is healthy, you're consistently active, and your nervous system is functioning optimally, then you have the best chance to have a healthy frontal lobe.
So that's how being inactive and sitting too much can affect the function of your brain, but what about those diseases I mentioned before? Well sitting has been linked to increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cancers, heart disease, high blood pressure, depression and aches and pains. Even more reasons to sit less!
After everything you've now read, if you're already motivated to get up and get moving more then that's fantastic! But I do want to stress that prolonged sitting only contributes partially to those diseases and conditions that I touched on just a moment ago. The biggest contributing factor is your lifestyle!
Are you eating and drinking properly? Exercising regularly? Getting enough sleep? Maintaining a healthy social network? Ensuring your nervous system is functioning optimally? If you're answering "no" to any of those questions, then sitting less is a step in the right direction but you may need to take some other measures to improve your overall health as well as reduce those risk factors.
We have a saying here at Thrive Chiropractic, "If you know better you can do better". You know that sitting is linked to a variety of diseases/conditions. You also now know how important your frontal lobe is, so you can understand why it's imperative that you take care of it. And you know that your frontal lobe gets stimulated when you're up and active. So now that you know, it's time for you to do!
Chiropractic can help to release and direct all the potential from your brain by adjusting the spine to remove nerve interference to create a clear pathway. It's kind of like high speed internet where the advertised maximum download speeds are really high, however the actual speed you experience at home can be limited by equipment like cables and routers. You may have the most awesome, super healthy brain in the world but your spinal alignment may be limiting how much awesomeness gets through to the rest of your body.
So get up out of your seat more often and get moving to reduce risk factors for many diseases and to stimulate your frontal lobe to keep your brain active and healthy! If you want to align your spine to remove nerve interference and allow your body to access more of your brain's potential, then click HERE to make an appointment.
214 Wellington Street
Dr. Kim Nguyen, D.C.