What you need to know about sitting down for long periods of time. Did you realize that the longer you sit down for the less healthy you will become? Maybe you spend a lot of your time sitting down at the office or in front of a computer, or perhaps you spend most your free time in front of the television. No matter what the scenario, a sedentary lifestyle will lead to worse health.
Most people spend most of their time sitting down, and a study conducted in Canada for the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that the majority of people spend about half of their life sitting down. Whether it is watching television, talking with friends, commuting to work or playing video games, sitting down tends to be where most of us reside for much of our lives.
This has a terrible effect on your health, and a lot of medical problems have been connected to the issue of sitting for too long. That’s what Dr Joanne Foody says, who works at Harvard University’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital at the Cardiovascular Wellness Center.
She says that most people only think about a sedentary lifestyle affecting their heart health, but there are actually tons of different negative effects that come from this kind of behaviour. Cancer, Type 2 diabetes and even mental illnesses can be related to sitting down too much.
We have known for a long time that not exercising can lead to a number of health problems. What isn’t as well known is that sedentary behaviour on its own can cause health issues, particularly if it is connected to eating too much food. The majority of health problems in the West are associated with this same type of lifestyle. Obesity is right at the top of the list, and most experts say it is linked to a lack of exercise and poor dieting.
An inactive lifestyle simply isn’t good for you. Expert opinion agrees on this. If you put in a little planning, though, you can reduce your risk and improve your lifestyle. We are going to give you a few suggestions.
Take a Break
Take some time to get up and do some walking (if you are healthy enough to do so). For those who work in an office, you can volunteer to get coffee for everyone or just find any excuse you can to get out of your chair and do some physical activity. Even in short bursts, a couple times day, this kind of activity will have incredible benefits.
Get a Dog
A dog can be a great companion, and it will need to have regular walks, so spending time walking your dog can be a great way to get some exercise. You may find the motivation you need to be more active and to get off the couch every day to take care of your dog. Having that regular routine will do incredible things for your body, not to mention the dog.
Become Part of an Activity Group
With a little searching, you can find community groups that get together to do activities, such as running, biking, waling, swimming and aerobics. Many of these cost nothing to join and be a member of, but others may require a small annual or monthly fee. You can find some groups in your area by looking them up on Facebook and other social media pages, if you don’t want to go through the trouble of visiting the local gym or courts to find flyers about local groups.
Use a Stand-Up Desk
Not all desks are for sitting down at. Many furniture companies carry desks that are designed for standing at, and these are more available than ever before since office furniture companies are starting to realize the need for people to engage in more active lifestyles. You can alternate between sitting and standing with one of these desks (which come with high chairs for convenient sitting), and you will benefit by staving off a number of diseases and health problems related to a sedentary lifestyle.
Sit at a Different Angle
If you sit in the same position at your desk or on your couch or in front of your computer, then it can benefit you to change your position every now and then. Sitting at a different angle can benefit your back and neck, particularly if you open the angle between your thighs and your waist. You should aim for a natural S-share for your spine, as that will relieve some of the stress on it. 120 degrees is about the optimal position for comfortable sitting and good posture.
Travel to Work on Foot
For those who live close to work, it is a good idea to walk or run to work some days instead of travelling there each day. You down have to do this each and every day of the week, but if you do it just once a week, you will make a profound difference on your health. If you are the kind of person who has to commute, then just pick a parking space that is farther way from your work, even one a few blocks away. That way, you can get in some exercise before and after work and be much healthier as a result.
During your lunchtime is the perfect time to get in a short jog and keep your metabolism going when you need it most.
We are finding out just how seriously a sedentary lifestyle can affect your health, and it could even lead to an early death. Our society tends toward more sedentary lives each year, and that is why it is important to shake things up, do something different and improve our health by being more active.
You will always do better with major lifestyle change shift you become part of a group that is trying to achieve the same goals. Put our suggestions to use and get some of your work colleagues or friends involved as well. You can put together a walking club or make weekend get-togethers with your friends to do some physical activities. Likeminded friends will encourage you and help you to stay motivated while you make these changes and turn good behaviours into healthy habits.
If you have any further suggestions for how to become more active, then please let us know. We would like to hear your ideas.