Are you more comfortable while sitting? Do you spend 8 hrs sitting? Do you have ‘butts in chair equals productivity’ mindset? If your answer to most of these questions is yes, your life is at a great risk already. Sitting is the most underrated health-threat of modern time. Researchers found that sitting more than six hours in a day will greatly increase your risk of an early death. The World Health Organization has identified physical inactivity as the fourth biggest killer on the planet, ahead of obesity.The Los Angeles Times recently interviewed Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative and inventor of the treadmill desk, Levine is credited with coining that mantra “sitting is the new smoking“.
“Sitting Habit is Not Good”
The reason why smoking analogy is relevant is that studies have repeatedly shown the effects of long-term sitting are not reversible through exercise or other good habits. Sitting, like smoking, is very clearly bad for our health and the only way to minimize the risk is to restrict the time we spend on our butts each day. Researchers have found and continue to find evidence that prolonged sitting increases the risk of developing several serious illnesses like various types of cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Researchers have found and continue to find evidence that prolonged sitting increases the risk of developing several serious illnesses like various types of cancer and type 2 diabetes. Also people with sitting jobs have twice the rate of cardiovascular diseases as compared to people with standing jobs.
Know the real reason
Giving up on sitting and instead rushing to get standing desks, ergonomic chairs, or attending ergonomic “classes” is not the solution to the problem. Because sitting is not the bottom of this hot issue rather it’s the sedentary life style. So sitting alone is not responsible for the poor health conditions and in the same manner standing alone won’t solve the malady.
How sitting wrecks your body
Sitting for too long slows down the body’s metabolism the way the enzyme lipoprotein lipase breaks down our fat reserves. On the other hand, blood glucose levels and blood pressure both increase. It further evokes a cascade of harmful metabolic effects.
- Electrical activity in the leg muscles shuts off.
- Calorie burning drops to 1 per minute.
- Enzyme that help break down fat drop by 90%.
- After 2 hours good cholesterol drops by 20%.
- After 24 hours insulin ineffectiveness drops by 24% and risk of diabetes rises.
Take the extra step
The World Health Organization recommends an adult should do at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week, or 30 minutes on at least five days. That is enough to gain the main benefits of regular exercise. However, it won’t protect you from the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle if you spend too much time sitting. So you must take the extra step and make an extra effort to save yourself from the dangers of sitting.
- Keep changing your sitting position and keep moving to different chairs if possible.
- Take small breaks, go meet your colleagues or make a trip to water cooler, or visit washroom to just freshen up. Do it regularly and avoid sitting for a long stretch of time.
- Power up your practices like if you have to take calls regularly, use your headset and roam while you talk or just stand when you get a call. Take every opportunity to walk around the office.
- Just get up every hour, walk around, and keep your activity simple.
- Just repeat simple stretchering exercises, walking, marching and jumping jacks.
- Once you are back from office, avoid sitting back at home while watching TV etc.
After all it’s just about eating, moving, and sleeping well in combination to stay healthy and fit all life long.