Why Sitting Down All Day Is Actually Killing You + 7 Tips To Save Your Health - Herbs Info

Why Sitting Down All Day Is Actually Killing You + 7 Tips To Save Your Health

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Do you think your body can handle this? You’re going to be shocked at the number of serious health problems that prolonged sitting can cause!

It’s a modern phenomenon: Our ancient ancestors spent much of their time on their feet – hunting, gathering food, making things and living lives that were in general much more physically active. They didn’t have TV, computers or modern transportation and spent a much greater portion of the day walking, standing and running.
Statistics show that some adults spend up to 70% of their waking lives sitting down. [1] Imagine if you have lived until the age of 70, that would mean that you’ve sat on your butt for an astonishing 32 solid years!

If you are one of the many people who sit for prolonged periods of time, you may want to reevaluate this sedentary lifestyle because according to studies, it can have very serious health consequences. People who spent more than 23 hours a week just sitting are now thought to have a 64% greater risk of dying from a heart disease. [2] Studies claim that sitting down mimics a microgravity situation and if a person is exposed to an environment without gravity, this person ages faster. [2] Not to mention the increase in back and hip pain from prolonged sitting, which is not ideal for what our bodies were designed for.

Another study states that an increase in physical inactivity leads to decreased metabolic health, which is the precursor of type 2 Diabetes.

There’s more: It is not only heart disease, back problems and type 2 Diabetes that prolonged sitting can give you. [3] Having to spend more time in front of the PC, more than 11 hours a week to be exact, or in front of the TV, more than 21 hours, will make you prone to obesity, according to the experts. [2] And this is because sitting time is a great predictor of gaining weight. Another study claims that women have a 40% greater chance of dying if they sit for more than 6 hours every day, whereas (curiously) males were found to have “only” a 20% increased risk of death with more than 6 hours a day of sitting time. [4] This is serious! What’s worse is that a lot of jobs need you to sit for prolonged time in a day. So how can you combat this?

The opposite of physical inactivity is movement. But what kind of movement? Exercise, frequently standing up and moving to and from your workspace are examples of movement. The recommended physical activity for healthy adults is 150 minutes of exercise weekly. [5] This could mean having 30 minutes of jogging for 5 days or an hour of exercising for 3 days in a week. It depends on you how you distribute 150 minutes in seven days. But the studies show something else. Spending 150 minutes of exercise does not necessarily influence prolonged sitting time nor does it help it improve. Because, you can still do both! In fact, all the studies mentioned earlier were concluded independently of physical exercise.

Seven Tips To Help Counteract The Harmful Effects Of Prolonged Sitting
1) To counter the effects of prolonged sitting, the first task is to break up sitting into smaller chunks. You need to stand up and move around every 35 to 40 minutes, or at the least once every hour. Our bodies were designed to move continuously and so consider the idea of spending more of your time in motion. [2]


2) Instil proper ergonomics and good posture while working at the computer. I call this the “Egyptian God” posture: The spine should be straight, with the top of the screen at eye height, the upper leg and the forearm horizontal. Maybe those Egyptians knew something we didn’t? 😉 If you have a laptop, raise it up so that the top of the screen is level with the eyes – then plug in an external keyboard and mouse so that your elbows can be level. Your mileage may vary, but making this change completely got rid of my continual neck pain!

3) Look into the possibility of one of those adjustable desks that allow you to alternate between sitting and standing positions regularly. This breaks up the pattern of prolonged sitting. [6]

4) Instead of giving just an hour of break time at lunch, divide your hour’s break into smaller times, for example, a 20 minute break every 3 hours or even 5-10 minutes every hour. [6]

5) Get out of the habit of always driving or taking public transport, and walk or ride a bike for short journeys if possible.

6) Create non-sitting areas in your house where things can comfortably be done in a good standing position. [6]

7) Get into some other hobbies that require you to move around and be on your feet. We love our fans but it has to be said – get out of the habit of spending multiple hours just surfing Facebook, Youtube, watching shows or movies. Set an alarm and limit your time spent doing these things. Do something creative. Take the dog for a walk or play in the garden. There are a thousand and one things to do that don’t involve sitting down.

Please share this important information in your office and at home and let everyone know what they can do to counter the negative health effects of prolonged sitting.

References:

[1] Sedentary Behavior: Emerging Evidence for a New Health Risk. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2996155/

[2] Taking a Seat can Take Years Off Life: http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2015/01/02/prolonged-sitting.aspx

[4] Sitting for hours can shave years off life: http://edition.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/06/24/sitting.shorten.life/

[3] Lack Of Regular Physical Exercise Or Too Much Inactivity: A Review (2011) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21519238

[5] How much exercise do you need? http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/physical-activity-guidelines/

[6] Too Much Sitting: The Population-Health Science of Sedentary Behavior. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3404815/



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