5 Ways Sitting May be Shortening Your Life
How much of your day are you moving? Do you sit up in bed, sit in the car or bus, spend all day sitting at a desk, sit on the way home then plop down to sit in front of the TV?
Studies have been popping up showing that a sedentary lifestyle could shorten your life by increasing the risk of 5 harmful issues. Change the position of your body, change your life! Our ancestors did not sit all day in 90-degree angles and neither should we.
Sitting can be a cause for depression
Several studies have linked a sedentary lifestyle to depression. Whether it’s in front of a computer or the TV, the risk is real. This conclusion is partially a result of studying the mental health of sedentary individuals compared to those that participate in regular activities.
When you contract muscles and vary your heart rate, feel-good chemicals are released in the brain which can help your mood.
An astounding 35% of all monthly cardiovascular disease diagnosis are attributed to a sedentary lifestyle. If you’re not moving, your blood isn’t moving! It is important to regularly contract the muscles in the legs to help the body recycle blood cells, keep any congestion out of arteries and vessels and promote healthy heart valves.
Generally speaking, to burn an adequate amount of calories you need to be upright!
Obesity, while an issue, isn’t the problem: It’s inactivity. With the rise of sedentary jobs and technology currently 35% of people in America are considered to be obese. Generally speaking, to burn an adequate amount of calories you need to be upright! Practicing movement in some form of activity a minimum of 20 minutes each day can make a difference in a healthy body fat percentage.
The longer you sit, the higher your risk is for type 2 Diabetes, as your blood sugar and resistance to insulin are affected by activity and inactivity. Even those who exercise are at risk if they sit for more than four consecutive hours a day. To keep your blood sugar in a normal range, the muscles must be contracted at various intervals throughout the day.
The majority of people with low back and hip pain could trace their issues back to sitting in a chair. The chair was designed to make us comfortable, however physiologically, it is an unnatural position for our bodies. The thigh bones are unnaturally pushed into the hip socket which causes the hip flexors to become shortened and stiff. When the front of the body is shortened the pelvic floor and low back muscles are weakened which can cause muscular issues and low back pain. If you do sit regularly, practice several variations of hip and front-body stretches.
The good news is, there are several solutions to remedy long hours on your backside. First and foremost, start moving! They key is choosing something that you enjoy doing. Try one or all of these suggestions to get the blood flowing:
- Stand up for a few minutes every hour.
- Take a walk during your lunch hour or break.
- Try a conversion desk which will allow you to work from a standing position.
- Take the stairs rather than an elevator or escalator.
- Park farther away than you need to.
- Sign up for a team sport.
Sometimes sitting at a desk all day is unavoidable, but stay healthy by moving as often as you can. For those post-work classes and routines, Vitamin World will be here.
Lauren Rae is a professional fitness talent, speaker, writer and consultant in Dallas, Texas. As a fitness chef she creates unique recipes with elevated ingredients that promote a lean physique, wellness and balance within the body. Lauren Rae is also a trained vocalist and has been featured in the music, food and fitness industries on the Food Network and in publications like Ironman and TRAIN Magazine.