Health experts have coined the term Sitting Disease to describe the long list of symptoms, including high blood pressure and increased risk of acquiring a range of chronic diseases that ultimately have no cure.
SITTING ALL DAY IS SLOWLY KILLING YOU!
We sit at the breakfast table, we sit while commuting to our workplace, we sit at our desk, we sit on our ride back home, we sit at dinner time, we sit to watch T.V, we sit with our phones and iPads, makes us wonder how much we sit in a day and what it does to our mind and body?
A term has been recently coined known as The sitting disease though it is not recognized as a medical disease at this time the term itself explains the ill effects of an overly sedentary lifestyle.
WHAT IS A SITTING DISEASE?
Sitting disease is a term used by experts to define the problems associated with sitting all day and having led a sedentary lifestyle and its negative consequences towards our body and mind.
ARE YOU SITTING TOO MUCH?
Our modern sedentary lifestyles both at home & in the workplace is costing us a lot in terms of health and wellbeing. We have been trained by our lifestyle and jobs to sit much more than moving around which leads to an overall decline in the physical activity.
WHY IS THIS A PROBLEM?
Sitting is meant for relaxing and we all feel the need to rest every now and then, but our bodies are built for movement. Sitting for more than six hours a day affects our health in a lot of ways, most of them are hidden risks which we predispose ourselves by sitting six to thirteen hours at a stretch in a day!
Stats suggest that 86% of the employees sit for an entire workday. Upon starting a new desk bond job, people gain about seven kgs in the first eight months. Women who spend more than 6 hours sitting are 95% more likely to die early than women who sit for about three hours a day. People who sit for more than eleven hours a day increase their chances of a premature death in the next three years by 45%.
Sitting affects everyone who sits for most of the time in a day regardless of whether the person has an ideal weight, or whether or not he smokes or drinks
Hence sitting all day increases the risk of multiple major health concerns like obesity, heart disease, diabetes, musculoskeletal problems, cancer & early death. This is just the tip of the iceberg, the hidden risk of sitting most of the hours in a day is much more than that.
THE HIDDEN RISKS OF SITTING
What goes wrong in our bodies when we sit for nearly 8 hours per day from head to toe?
The brain is a glucose hungry organ. Glucose serves as the main brain fuel, brain blood flow is critical in regulating the supply of glucose. Moving muscles pump blood effectively and supply oxygen & glucose to the brain and releases mood-enhancing chemicals. Sedentary lifestyle slows down the brain function & it is known to affect a region in our brain which is vital to memory formation. Sitting too long impairs memory and affects the brain function, causing a foggy mind.
Most of the sitting at a desk at work makes us slouch and bend our necks forward towards a keyboard or on the phone while typing can strain the cervical vertebrae. The posture puts the neck under prolonged stress causing a painful, stiff neck. A stiff neck is nature’s way of telling us that it has been overstrained and can further damage the protective cushions between the cervical discs. It can also lead to a serious injury like herniated disc if posture is not corrected.
SORE SHOULDERS & BACK:
Slumping forward overextends the shoulder & the back as well. The trapezius muscle is the most strained and leads to soreness. The pain can be debilitating with time, interfering with day to day activities.
During long sit muscles burn less fat & blood flows more sluggishly, it is easy for the free moving fatty acids to clog the heart. Studies suggest that more sedentary life you spend, you are twice likely to develop high Blood pressure & increased cholesterol.
The pancreas is an organ that produces a hormone insulin. Insulin regulates the blood glucose by taking it to the cells for energy. Inactive sedentary muscles don’t respond properly to insulin, hence the pancreas produces more & more insulin, which leads to type 2 diabetes and other metabolic syndromes.
Inactive abdominal muscles lose their flexibility and become lax. Sitting for long hours attributes to a potbelly. A faulty diet along with a sedentary lifestyle is the main cause of putting on extra weight on all the wrong places such as the abdomen, hip, and lower chin.
Sitting for long hours put the same strain on the back as it does to the neck. It interferes with the normal curvature of the spine & becomes inflexible and more susceptible to injury.
Researchers have proven that sitting for long hours may be responsible for an increased risk of colon cancer. One explanation for this could be the excess insulin production by the pancreas, the other reason could be that regular movement promotes the production of natural antioxidants which kills potentially cancer-causing free radicals.
STIFF HIP JOINT:
While sitting for long hours we rarely extend the hip flexors at our hip joints, which makes the muscles short & tight. It limits the range of motion and hence the hip joint loses its stability. The pain could worsen over time and we are unable to maintain a good posture.
Without enough movement, the blood circulation slows down in lower limbs and causes fluid to pool in the legs. It can cause as minor as swollen ankles due to posture to dangerous life-threatening clots are known as Deep vein thrombosis.
Weight-bearing exercises like walking, running, cycling stimulates hip and lower-body bones cells making it thicker, denser, and stronger. Our sedentary lifestyle is partially responsible for the recent surge in the cases of osteoporosis due to lack of activity.
All of this together makes it a deadly disease, hence the name sitting disease.
Sitting disease puts you at as much risk as smoking every day!
SITTING IS THE NEW SMOKING
When we move, we send adequate oxygen & nutrition to our body. We mobilize our joints, our bones grow strong and improve learning and memory. An active lifestyle improves our overall health.
Standing a little more each day tones muscles, improves posture, increases blood flow, burns up extra calories.
HOW CAN WE FIGHT THE SITTING DISEASE:
- Take breaks every 30 minutes, walk around your workstation.
- Do small easy stretches that can be performed at your own desks.
- Make use of the office gym if you have one.
- Try sitting on stability or gym balls instead of chairs, few times in a day, if it is available.
- Wear fitness trackers and challenge yourself to increase daily steps.
- Use the stairs instead of elevators at your work more often. If a medical condition does not allow you to climb a lot of floors, kindly avoid.
- Last but certainly not the least.
CORRECT YOUR POSTURE
- Upper back straight & shoulders relaxed.
- The backrest of the chair should support the lower curve in the lower back.
- The hip should be as far back of the chair as possible.
- Adjustable seat for proper height.
- The monitor should be at the eye level.
- Arms should be relaxed, arm and forearm should form a 90% angle, similarly, lower legs and thighs should make a 90% angle.
- Feet should be always on a footrest.
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