The modern lifestyle often requires us to be seated for long periods of time. Whether it's at a desk in the office or on the couch watching TV shows, many of us may spend too much time sitting. Despite its innocuous appearance, this habit can become detrimental to our wellbeing. This article will provide an overview of the risks associated with staying sedentary too long and offer tips on how to counter them.
Dangers of Sitting Too Much
Obesity: It is evident that extended periods of sitting can be hazardous to our health, resulting in weight gain due to fewer calories being burned. Not only can this lead to obesity, but a sedentary lifestyle has also been linked to an elevated likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Poor Posture: Prolonged sitting can contribute to poor posture. Slouching, a common result of sitting for extended periods, can cause lower back pain, neck pain, and even headaches. These consequences extend beyond physical discomfort, as poor posture can also affect our breathing and digestion.
Muscle Weakness: Being sedentary for lengthy periods can cause our muscles to not receive the stretching and reinforcement they need. This can lead to a lack of strength, particularly in the glutes, hips, and legs. Such muscle weakness could produce a variety of repercussions, like back pain and balance difficulties.
Increased Risk of Chronic Diseases: Spending too much time seated has been tied to an elevated chance of developing certain long-term illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and certain cancers. This is because sitting burns fewer calories, which can have repercussions on our blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
How to combat the negative effects of sitting too much
Take Frequent Breaks: Taking frequent breaks is a great way to combat the adverse consequences of sitting too much. Experts suggest getting up and moving around every 30 minutes, it can be as easy as walking around your office or doing a few stretches.
Use a Standing Desk: Using a standing desk can help counter the consequences of sitting too much. It lets you work while standing, which can help maintain proper posture and burn additional calories. Alternating between standing and sitting during the day is an option as well.
Stretch Regularly: Regularly engaging in stretching can help fight the consequences of an excessive amount of sitting. Doing easy stretches, for example neck rolls and shoulder shrugs, can assist in easing tension in your muscles as well as enhancing your posture. You may also look into yoga or Pilates to strengthen your core muscles and become more flexible.
Incorporate More Physical Activity into Your Day: Making the most of your day and avoiding long periods of sitting can have a positive impact on your health. Taking a walk during your lunch break, climbing the stairs or cycling to work are easy ways to increase physical activity. Try to aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day for optimum health benefits.
Use Ergonomic Furniture: Ergonomically designed furniture can be beneficial in keeping good posture, as well as reducing any damages on the body caused by long periods of sitting. An ergonomic chair provides proper support for your back and neck, while a keyboard tray relieves strain from your wrists and arms.
Stay Hydrated: Maintaining proper hydration is necessary to ward off the repercussions of too much sitting. When idle for lengthy stretches, our blood flow can be affected, resulting in inflations in our limbs. Drinking plentiful amounts of water can assist in boosting circulation and lessen the likelihood of puffiness.
Be Mindful of Your Posture: It is vital to pay attention to your posture while sitting. To avoid feeling uncomfortable during long periods of sitting, make sure your feet are firmly placed on the floor, and your back is neatly aligned and relaxed. Don't slouch or hunch over as this could result in poor posture.
In short, sedentary behaviour can lead to a range of health issues such as weight gain, posture problems, and muscle weakness. To counteract these potential detriments, we can partake in a number of activities including taking breaks, using standing desks, stretching out, engaging in physical activity regularly, opting for ergonomic furniture, hydrating our bodies, and maintaining good posture. While these may initially appear as small changes, they can collectively go a long way towards promoting healthier living.