How to Avoid the Harm Caused by Sitting Too Long
In this modern world, it is all too easy to sit for long periods when working and staring at a screen, to sit on a sofa for hour after hour when watching and staring at the TV or to sit in our motor vehicles when driving long distances.
But what harm do these long periods of being sedentary do to our health?
1. When sitting for long periods through the day, there is a risk of creating an imbalance of the soft disks between the vertebrae. This can reduce the flexibility in your back and result in your back stiffening. Similarly, we are more at risk for herniated lumbar disks, due to the increased pressure on the spine.
2. Even when you take the effort to exercise regularly, sitting for too long comes with a higher risk of premature death.
3. Our brain functionality can be affected too. When we move our bodies less, fresh blood and oxygen is not as effective in getting pumped into our brains.
4. Too much sitting in one position can mean our legs become weaker leading to possible poor balance and stability which in turn could raise the risk of injuries and bone fractures.
5. When sitting for more than eight hours a day can lead to the development of fatty tissue cells known as preadipocyte cells which can mean a spreading waistline and obesity.
6. Long periods of sitting mean that calories are not being burned which in turn could mean that blood sugar levels rise, even leading to the onset of Type 2 Diabetes. Moving your muscles helps your body digest the fats and sugars you eat. If you spend a lot of time sitting, digestion is not as efficient, so you retain those fats and sugars as fat in your body.
7. All those sedentary jobs in the office workplace can raise the risk of cardiovascular disease.
8. Insulin is produced by the pancreas, helping to carry glucose to our cells for energy. But when the body is inactive for long periods, the pancreas becomes over productive and does not respond properly.
9. Prolonged sitting can cause your hip flexor muscles to shorten, which can leading to joint pain at the hip bone.
10. Neck pain and poor body posture are two more side effects of spending too much time just sitting.
11. Deep vein thrombosis is the formation of a blood clot in the veins of your legs. This can cause a blockage thereby preventing flow of blood to other parts of the body resulting in pulmonary embolism (a blockage in one of the pulmonary arteries in your lungs).
12. And last but not least, sitting too long either on a chair or on the toilet can lead to hemorrhoids. Our H-Hemorrhoids Formula when used on either external or internal hemorrhoids will help to provide fast pain relief and shrink those unwanted hemorrhoids by reducing swelling.
How to avoid this harm to our health?
We need to think about including more exercises into our daily lives whether you are in the workplace or working from home...
- Routine exercise such as jogging or brisk walking (especially if you are working from home) are a great idea.
- Take a break from sitting every thirty minutes to stretch and move around. Use this time to perform tasks that can be done while standing, such as making phone calls. Stand up when you answer the phone. If possible, pace near your desk for the duration of the call.
- Schedule “walking meetings.” This is ideal when you meet with just one or two people and don’t need to take notes.
- Cut back on phone calls and e-mails to co-workers and rather, when you need to speak to a co-worker, walk to their space.
- Try to build in different activities into your daily routine. The simple act of standing will increase your energy expenditure 300% compared with sitting. We burn just 5 calories an hour when sitting - but 15 while standing.
- Think about investing in an adjustable desk which allows you to sit down on occasions when necessary but for the most part, you spend your day standing up, allowing you naturally to move around more. In fact most cubicle systems or open plan office spaces can be configured to support a high desk so that your computer sits there while you still have a low desk for making telephone calls, reading, writing or other tasks. If space constraints makes two heights impossible, an adjustable-height desk will allow you to change positions throughout the day.
- Another idea is to use a treadmill desk to create a walking desk. Those who have done this (using it for four to twelve hours daily) have found that their productivity and concentration have improved along with their health.
- On your way to and from your office, take the stairs and avoid the elevator if possible.
- If you drive to work, park your car a distance (half a mile for example) from your office, if practical, or if you take public transport, get off the bus or subway one or two stops before your destination.
- Take a midday walk by using half your lunch hour for a stroll to enjoy some green exercise. Apart from the exercise, abundant scientific evidence shows that activity in natural areas decreases the risk of mental illness and improves the sense of well-being. If you can just make their way to a local park or green area for an absolute minimum of five minutes every lunch break, you will benefit.
- Use comfortable chairs in places where you are likely to sit for long hours. A pillow can be placed at your back to maintain its normal curvature. Research the different types of chairs available when buying a new one. Avoid chairs that make you slouch or changes your spinal position. Chairs with good lower back support, armrests and a swivel base that would also keep your knees and hips levelled are more suitable. Use chairs that are movable while working on a desk so that you move easily.
- Change positions while sitting and consciously shake your feet gently or wriggle your feet and toes often.