Sitting has become the latest health issue that we must address. An increasing body of research has us heading for an early grave because of the many hours we are spending on our behinds. The less we sit the longer we will live.
On average, adults sit for around nine hours each day. The long hours sitting often for continues hours means we have a much higher chance of being overweight, developing type 2 diabetes or heart disease, and experiencing depression and anxiety. Emerging studies also suggest the dangers of sitting include increasing your chances of developing some types of cancer, including lung, uterine, and colon cancers. The reason behind this is not yet known.
Sitting is also the leading cause of bad backs and strained necks.
Why? How can sitting have such a dramatic effect on our health?
The human body is a magnificent machine that has evolved to work its best during waking hours standing upright. We digest food properly, our cardiovascular works the way it was designed to, we strengthen our bones and standing strengthens muscles. We are designed to move whilst the sun is up and rest when it’s gone.
Squeezing in your daily gym session to combat the hours you are spending at your desk isn’t enough. Research also shows that doing regular exercise won’t protect us against the health risks of long periods of continuous sitting.
So what do we do?
First, you need to conscious of hour many hours you spend sitting at work. Those long prolonged periods must be broken up. For every hour you are sitting you need to get up and move for at least 5 minutes. Go and get a glass of water, go to the bathroom, walk around, no matter what just get up and out of your seat. Set an alarm on your phone or a calendar reminder is a great way to remind yourself. Other ideas are taking the stairs, park further away, walk to speak to a colleague instead of emailing them.
When discussing the health implications of sitting it’s easy to just think this relates to the hours we are sitting at work or the hours spent studying. But we are sitting more at home than we ever have. The best way to avoid this is to limit your screen time. The more time you spend in front of a screen the more time you are sitting.
Sitting is being classified as the new smoking. We are doing significant damage to our health and we need to change our habits. Take a moment and think about how much time you are sitting and how you can cut that back or how you can take the breaks needed to minimise the effects.
It’s time to make an immediate change, moving is good for us, it’s essential for our health and wellbeing. Get moving with your regular exercise but make sure you are adding that extra movement throughout the day to combat the dangers of sitting for too long.
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