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The Dangers of Sitting Disease

October 11, 2022 3 min read

The Dangers of Sitting Disease

If you love looking for a good scare for this Halloween season, then you might be interested in this scary fact that’s sure to get you moving! 

 Did you know that sitting for several hours a day puts your health at risk – even if you exercise regularly? Unfortunately, something as comfortable as sitting for too long can increase the risk of chronic health problems, so much so that sitting is now considered ‘the new smoking!’ Researchers have found that an average of 3.2 million deaths are related to physical inactivity.   

The Sitting Disease

If you thought you had enough things to be afraid of, you might want to add this one to the list. The 34 chronic diseases that are frequently linked to inactivity or prolonged sitting are together referred to as "sitting disease." 

How can sitting for too long affect the body?

Prolonged sitting can increase blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and unhealthy cholesterol levels. 

 The fact of the matter is that humans are built to stand upright, to move and be active.The heart and cardiovascular system work more effectively that way. The body’s bowel movements also function more efficiently in an upright position which is why it is common for people who are bedridden in hospital to experience problems with their bowel function. 

Terrifying Effects of Sitting Disease

  1. Cancer -Astudy in 2020 showed the relationship between inactivity and cancer mortality concluding that a sedentary lifestylecould heighten someone’s risk of later dying from cancer. 
  2. Diabetes-Research has shown that people who tend to spend more time sitting have a 112 percent higher risk of diabetes. This is because sitting can damage the body’s ability to handle blood sugar which causes a reduced sensitivity to insulin which is responsible for carrying glucose from the blood into cells where it can be used for energy.
  3. Anxiety and Depression -Prolonged usage of gadgets as the only form of communication can cause loneliness and depression due to the lack of socialization and time spent outside. People who spend most of their time sitting also lack physical activity which can help with your mental and physical wellbeing

  4. Back and Spine Injuries- Sitting for a long time may promote poor posture, cause poor spine health, and can cause compression in thediscs. 

  5. Weakened legs andgluteals (bum muscles)-Aside from gaining poor posture and spine health, sitting for long periods can lead to weakening and wasting away of the leg and gluteal muscles. If these muscles are weak, you are more likely to injure yourself from falls, and from strains when you do exercise. 
  6. Obesity- Since calorie burning decreases and muscles are not in use, it may cause weight gain and lead to obesity if the habit is not fixed.
  7. Heart Disease- Obesity, insulin resistance, and fat buildup in the heart are all linked to sedentary activity, all of which can harm heart cells. Studies have shown that it increases the risk of heart disease by 64%. 

How much exercise can offset 10 or more hours of sitting?

Sometimes we are huddled on our desks for more than the usual hours of work. Or perhaps with work from home arrangements make it so tempting to easily switch from sitting on your desk to hopping on the couch to watch Netflix right after. So how do we cancel out the risk of catching the effects of sitting disease? 

 

Arecent analysis of nine previous studies has concluded that30 to 40 minutes per day of being active is a good remedy for sitting for 10 hours or more daily. The studies involved a total of 44,370 people in four different countries who were wearing some form of a fitness tracker. 

Let’s get moving!

At present where technology is prominently used to do all kinds of things, we often easily forget to stand up, stretch, or take a minute off work. Being active doesn’t necessarily mean doing hard workout routines or running long kilometers. If you can take a few minutes of your time to take breaks, that’s enough.Here are a few tips to offset sitting disease: 

  • Take regular short breaks in between work. We suggest thePomodoro Technique and doing stretches or walking around during your short breaks. 
  • Opt for a standing desk at work. 
  • Choose an active leisure activity e.g. a fun dance class or leisurely stroll around the neighborhood. 
  • Use the stairs instead of elevators/escalators. 
  • Walk to nearby destinations instead of using a car. 

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