Whether at school or at the office or at your home comfort, it’s no secret that just like Americans, we also end up spending a lot of time sitting. In fact, we sit for an average of 9.3 hours per day. For most, that’s even more time than spending time sleeping!
Doesn’t sound that bad, right? Think again.
Researchers believe that people who sit more than six hours a day are at great risk of developing grave health issues. When you sit, you tend to use less energy than when you move or stand. Researches over time have linked sitting for a longer period of time can lead to a number of health concerns. They can include a cluster of conditions – from obesity to high blood sugar, increased blood pressure, excess body fat around the waist to abnormal cholesterol levels – that makes up our metabolic syndrome. Too much of sitting and prolonged hours of sitting can seem to increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
Sitting Is The New Smoking
We all know that smoking is injurious to our health, but who would have known that leading a sedentary lifestyle can also be as damaging as smoking in many of the ways smoking a cigarette does.
But how does leading a sedentary life affects the body?
Our human body is designed and built to stand upright. The cardiovascular and heart work more effectively in that way. The bowel functions also work more efficiently when one is upright. Hence it is the reason why many people who are bedridden experiences discomfort and problems in bowel function. When you are physically active, your overall energy and endurance level on the other hand improves, and your bones remain stronger.
Prolonged sitting hours can cause many long-term and short-term effects, such as:
- High Glucose levels
- Increased blood pressure
- Higher cholesterol levels
- Excess body fat
- Risk of cardiovascular disease
- Increased risk of breast, colon, lung and prostate cancer
Taking Care of Your Back
Sitting for a long period can also affect our spines. In fact, sitting in an exact position or posture can put 40% more pressure on our spines than standing – and if you slouch or slump, it’s even worse! When circulation of blood is not adequate, it results in spinal bone weakening, increased osteoporosis risks, and other problems such as pinched nerves and disc degeneration.
While sitting at the office may be inevitable, there are many things you can do to prevent the stress off your spine – get your body moving into better health.
Change your sitting posture/angles. Adjust your desk chair height to ensure a right angle at the knees and sit up straight so that no extra pressure is created at your waist or back. It is vital to change your sitting posture or position or angle every once in 30 minutes to avoid any serious health risk. Your computer screen should be in level with your eyes so that you’re looking down at the screen to view. If it’s lower, you will have to move your head, which can lead to neck and back pain.
Make Your Move
Stand and stretch. Some workplace offer specially designed desks which allow workers to stand, and if yours doesn’t, don’t let that stop you. In between work shifts, one must stretch or even stand or take a break for a few minutes.
Indulge In Physical Activity. Change your sitting angle frequently. Instead of emailing or calling your co-workers from the other end of the office, take a walk. Another trick you can do is to drink a lot of water in the entire day so that you can frequently take a restroom break. Instead of taking the lift to consider taking the staircase. Whichever way you want, get up and move.
Suffering From Back Pain?
There are more studies being conducted on the effects of sitting has on health. However, it seems clear now that less sitting and more moving contributes overall to better health. You might start with simply following these tips:
- Take 30 minutes break from sitting in between work
- Stand up while watching television or talking on the phone
- If you work on the desk, try using a standing desk
- Take a walk with your colleagues after a meeting rather than sitting.
For starters, you will burn calories and this might lead to increased energy levels and weight loss. Also, physical activity maintains muscle tone, ability to move around and also your mental well-being, especially as one age.