Have you ever tried to list down things that pose threat to your health? While smoking and drinking might make a crashing entry to the list, don’t forget to include chairs too! Yes, you read it right – the chair that you are currently sitting on poses more risk to your health than a lot of other things.
So, while you might be sitting comfortably on your couch or chair while reading this, chances are that by the time you finish reading this article, you’d no longer be comfortable enough. That’s how bad sitting is for you and your health. In fact, sitting has been branded as the new smoking, and experts believe that sitting is a ticking time bomb that’s just waiting to wreak havoc on your health.
But why is sitting so bad? How could it lead to bad health? And what exactly can you do to prevent the ill effects of sitting? This article addresses all these questions and more.
The Effect of Continuous Sitting on Our Health
We are all mostly glued to our seats – whether we are at work, at home, driving our car, or watching our screen. But all that sitting significantly affects our bad health and leads to lots of health issues. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) has already listed physical inactivity as the fourth biggest killer, that’s even ahead of obesity.
So, if you are wondering how continuous sitting leads to health problems; here’s what happens when we spend too much time sitting:
– The electrical activity in the leg muscles shuts down
– Calorie burning drops to 1 per minute
– Your metabolism slows down significantly
– Enzymes that break down fat drop by 90%
– Good cholesterol drops by 20%
– Insulin effectiveness drops by 24%
– The risk of heart disease doubles
– The blood flow slows down
– Fatty acid starts building up in blood vessels
In fact, continuous or prolonged sitting affects all aspects of your health. It makes you prone to various health issues, including:
- Heart disease
- Muscle and back issues
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Weak or brittle bones
- Anxiety and Depression
That’s why, to stay healthy, it is important to stay active!
Steps You Can Take to Minimize the Dangers of Sitting
Sitting is inevitable, especially when you are at work. However, simple modifications to your routine can help you make a big difference. Here’s what you can do to combat your sedentary lifestyle and reduce your health risks:
Opt for a Standing Desk
When at work, choose a standing desk over your workstation. Most modern standing desks are adjustable, come with sit-stand options, and can help you reduce your sitting time. While not a complete solution, they are a great first step to curb your sitting habit.
Develop a Movement-Based Lifestyle
Whether you are at work or home, purposely choose activities that keep you moving:
- Take stairs instead of the elevator.
- Walk to your colleague’s desk if you have a question, instead of shooting random emails.
- Encourage walking meetings or stand-up huddles over board room discussions.
- Set an alarm on your phone to stand and move every 20 minutes.
- Park your vehicle away to increase your walking possibilities.
- Spend some of your breaks or lunch time taking a walk.
- If on a public transport, get off one stop early to walk your way to your home or office.
Go Out for a Walks
While morning walks have their own set of benefits, you can choose to walk at any time of the day. So, if you are not a morning person, you can choose to go out for a walk after lunch, in the evening, or post dinner. The main idea is to keep yourself active.
Exercise with a Friend
It’s easier to give up on your goals if you are hustling alone. But if there’s someone continuously tracking you down, skipping your exercise session becomes difficult. So find an exercise buddy and get on to a fitness routine. Your workout sessions will become more enjoyable and rewarding.
Read more about The Amazing Health Benefits of Friendships!
Participate in Marathons
Marathons are the best way to make up for the active time lost while performing sedentary activities and you get plenty of recognition and bragging rights too. In fact, many marathons support a cause, care enough to find out about them and make your bit count.
Staying active is not as tough as you thought it to be, isn’t it? All you need is some motivation and willpower. Follow our tips to minimize your sitting time and reduce your risk of suffering from cancer, cardiovascular disease and other chronic health conditions. So stop that huff and puff, and make it a point to move as often as possible.
If you are new to physical activity, or if you have a pre-existing health condition, speak to your EPIC Health physician before starting any new activity. We can help you choose the activities that are best for your health. Visit us today for personalized support and counseling.