Let’s take a stand against too much sitting

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  Posted by: The Probe      23rd June 2020

As a dental hygienist or dental therapist, it’s likely that you are no stranger to spending the majority of the working day sitting down. Indeed, conditions caused by prolonged sitting are often discussed in articles for those working in offices and other similarly stationary environments. But what are these problems and what can we do to stop them?

According to data, sitting down for extended periods of time on a regular basis can exacerbate a number of conditions, as well as putting people at higher risk of developing new ones.[i] The core idea behind this is that when you are sitting down you are burning fewer calories, and this can quickly take its toll on your personal health.

As such, people working in sedentary professions are at risk of increased levels of obesity alongside a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. Furthermore, there’s the strain on the body to consider, and sitting down for too long can quickly lead to back problems if someone has bad posture,[ii] as well as reduced circulation to the legs and feet resulting in swelling and soreness.[iii]

So, as you can see, this is something which dental hygienists and dental therapists need to be aware of. But what can professionals do to help avoid these conditions?

One simple measure is to try and find chances to be active during the day when at work. Of course, with a busy schedule this is easier said than done, but if you do have a lunch break or a spare ten minutes here and there, try to do something active like heading out for a walk – even if this is just to go out and get some food or a quick stroll around the local area. Another easily incorporated way to help prevent these conditions is to make sure that you stand up at least once every 30 minutes. Even a small change in activitiy levels is bound to have positive effects.

What about parking farther away from work or getting off the bus a stop earlier? It’s tricks like these that can easily introduce more active time into your life without disrupting your schedule.

Another good tip is to work on your posture. Poor posture where the head stoops forward when sitting shifts the body’s centre of gravity forwards, putting unnecessary strain on your back as well as the supporting muscles on the lower half of your body if you sit in any strange positions. By concentrating on holding yourself erect when seated, you can help avoid this excess strain and take a lot of the pressure off, reducing the risk of swollen ankles and poor circulation.[iv] Wearing dental loupes can also help maintain a good working position and posture. Another tip is to do seated leg exercises throughout the day such as stretching your legs out and rotating the ankles to ensure that your circulation isn’t impacted by remaining in the same position too long.

In the end, we need to remember that looking after our own health is just as important as looking after that of our patients. Take the chance to have walks and be up on your feet, try to incorporate more activity into your days – the risks of staying seated are substantial, but they don’t have to be a probem if you take extra care.

 

 For more information about the BSDHT, please visit www.bsdht.org.uk

call 01788 575050 or email enquiries@bsdht.org.uk

 

 

[i] Mayo Clinic. What Are The Risks Of Sitting Too Much? Link: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/sitting/faq-20058005 [Lastaccessed January 2020].

[ii] Healthline. Why Does My Lower Back Hurt When I Sit and How Can I Relieve the Pain? Link: https://www.healthline.com/health/lower-back-pain-when-sitting [Last accessed January 2020].

[iii] PBE. Is Working at a Dek Hurting Your Feet? Link: https://www.pbergo.com/oh-my-aching-feet/ [Last accessed January 2020].

[iv] NEA. 4 Ways to Reduce Pain from Standing All Day. Link: https://www.neamb.com/family-and-wellness/4-ways-to-reduce-pain-from-standing-all-day [Last accessed January 2020].


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