Are you seated and reading this? How long have you been sitting? Half-an-hour or more?
Then stop reading this right now. Stand up, stretch, walk around the room.
Keep moving for a few minutes. Finally head back to your chair.
Now read on to find out why you must not remain glued to your chair. It’s just not good for your health and raises your risk of disease.
According to a study published in Jama Cardiology, prolonged sitting put participants at higher risk for cardiovascular disease and early death. The study was led by researchers at Simon Fraser University and the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences.
Additionally, researchers found that the risks associated with prolonged sitting were more prevalent in low-income and lower-middle-income countries. The study was carried out among 100,000 people between the ages of 35 and 70 in 21 countries.
The study found that participants who sat for more than eight hours a day had a 17 to 50 per cent higher chance of experiencing associated health risks compared to participants who sat for less than four hours a day.
This is not new information. Like unhealthy eating habits, prolonged sitting without adequate exercise and movement contributes to a sluggish metabolism, increased fat deposits around the waist and increased risk of suffering from a variety of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.
So how much sitting is too much sitting? According to juststand.org sitting for more than 20 minutes at a time begins to inhibit one’s metabolism. The website cites global studies that show people are sitting for 7.7 hours per day on average, and some estimate people sit for up to 15 hours per day.
This is asking for trouble.
Why is sitting so bad for you?
Depending on how you sit as well as how long you sit for, the impact on your health may vary. We already mentioned how it slows down metabolic function leading to increased girth and obesity. Long periods of sitting can also cause ankles and legs to swell. In rare cases, blood pooling in these regions can potentially lead to a blood clot.
Additionally, if you ever find yourself experiencing back pain after a long day of, well, just sitting, your spine is likely facing some strain and tension because of slouching in a seated position for hours. So, yes, it goes beyond the long-term health risks, leading to chronic aches and pains too.
Take adequate breaks and practice some sort of leg, hand and neck exercises to relax all your muscles.
Practice desk yoga and other simple exercises too.
Here are a few asanas (physical postures) that can help combat the ill-effects of sitting for a long time.
- Adhomukha Savasana (Downward Dog)
- Marjaryasana (Cat/Cow Pose)
- Shoulder rotation
- Forward Bending
- Neck Stretches
To find out how Yoga can help you beat lifestyle diseases, write to us at [email protected] or call us at 050-395-5613.