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Sitting too long is bad for your joints

THE STAR/DPA – Prolonged sitting can damage your knees and hips, joint replacement specialists warn.

If you sit for hours on end with your legs bent, you’re risking a shortening of the tendons, muscles and fascia (thin casing of connective tissue) in your legs, resulting in restricted mobility and joint function over the long term, said the German Endoprosthetics Society (AE).

This can make you more susceptible to poor posture and muscular imbalances, leading to conditions such as swayback.

Sitting in one position for extended periods of time is also harmful to articular cartilage – the elastic tissue that covers the bone ends in joints and allows them to glide smoothly over each other.

As the AE explains, it’s nourished and lubricated by a thick liquid known as synovial fluid, which is mechanically “pumped” throughout the joint only by joint movement.

To keep your joints healthy, you should deliberately stretch your leg muscles and ligaments several times a day, frequently change your sitting position, and change your seat now and then. It’s also a good idea to try and incorporate plenty of exercise into your daily routine.

“It’s not a matter of finding the perfect chair or standing all the time,” noted AE President Dr Karl-Dieter Heller.

“No position that’s held too long is good.”

Regularity and variety are important, he said, “You should use every short break at an office job for stretching and strengthening exercises.”

While you’re boiling water for tea, for example, you can stretch your large psoas muscles, which flex the hip, by doing forward lunge exercises for 30 seconds – three times for each leg.

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