How Prolonged Sitting is Killing You Slowly

Photo credit: Bigstockphoto
Photo credit: Bigstockphoto

Did you know prolonged sitting can be just as bad as not getting any exercise at all? A sedentary lifestyle puts you at risk of cardiovascular diseases. Unfortunately, from commuting to working, sitting for 7 hours straight has become a part of our lifestyle. Even when we relax watching our favorite soaps, we end up sitting too long on the couch. But this wasn’t always the case.

Why is Sitting Too Long Dangerous to the Health?

According to health experts, from an active lifestyle in agriculture, we have devolved into sitting on a desk, working for 12 to 15 hours per day. But the body has not evolved for the last several hundreds of years. In short, the body is not meant to live a sedentary lifestyle. Sitting puts a strain certain organs, including the spine. And all these contribute to the dangers of prolonged sitting.

The Negative Effects of Sitting

Sitting just 2 hours per day increases the risk of obesity in women by 23% and cancer by 10%. Sitting too long can also increase the risk of diabetes by 20%, heart disease by 15% and early death by 13%!

And if the prospect of developing chronic diseases does not scare you, the immediate effects of sitting will. Prolonged sitting can cause joints to become even more immobile. It could lead to muscle atrophy. This is a condition wherein the muscles waste away, reducing muscle mass. Worse, sitting too long can distort the spine, causing chronic pain and bone disease.

If you think standing up is a great solution to the whole prolong sitting debacle, it won’t. Standing for too long has its own health dangers too. Standing up puts an enormous pressure on the feet, legs, back, and spine. It could also compromise the circulatory system.

So if sitting too much or standing up too long are bad for the health, what can you do? Boosting physical activities, also known as exercising. Working out stretches and strengthens the muscles and ligaments. It strengthens the body and the immune system. If say, you have a desk job that requires you to sit for at least 7 hours per day, consider these tips:

Mind Your Posture

When you slouch, you put a lot of strain on your lungs, neck and spine. And with every inch your head hangs, an extra 10 pounds of weight is pressed on the spine. So when you have to sit up, do so but keep your posture in check. When you sit up straight, the weight is distributed evenly to the upper body, not on the spine alone.

Getting Fit while You Sit

Any kind of movement counts when you’re chained to a desk, so why not make the most of it by exercising? Start by shifting your position every 15 minutes. Then, contract and release the glutes to tone the buns. Stretch those arms every half an hour. If you have tiny dumbbells stowed away under your desk, bring them up and tone the arms in between breaks. You can search for workouts you can perform while sitting down! The key is to find any opportunity to get moving while you are sitting.

Exercise after Lunch

Don’t waste all your breaks eating, spend a few minutes working out. If you’re heading out to eat, don’t use the elevator, take the stairs. Keep a jumping rope in handy and look for opportunities to use it. When you’re at home, don’t watch your favorite programs until 3 in the morning couched-locked. Try jogging in place as soon as the commercial is on. You can also do squat or lunges while watching TV.

Minimize Inter-Office Communication

Got something to say to a co-employee? Instead of writing a short email about it, deliver the message in person. This is a great opportunity to get out of your desk and spend several minutes walking.

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