Sitting is the New Smoking
Have you heard the adage -nothing is going to come to you by sitting around and waiting for it”. Boy oh boy, were they wrong! There is one thing that can come to us by simply sitting – ill-health.
A study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine shows that sitting ups the risk of an early death. Such is the extent of the problem of sitting, with newer lifestyles and workplaces, that it is said to be the new smoking! Sitting for more than six hours a day is an easy way to invite numerous health hazards including cardiovascular disease and cancer. The risk of illness does not decrease significantly even with daily exercise.
What Are the Risks?
Prolonged sitting, whether at work or in front of the television, has been linked to issues such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, depression, and abnormal cholesterol levels besides heart disease and different types of cancers. It has been found that due to long hours of sitting, the body tends to shut down, and this can bring death to your doorstep faster than usual.
- Sitting for an extended period causes blood sugar levels to spike and insulin to dip
- Muscles tend to stiffen due to prolonged inactivity
- The efficiency of lipoprotein lipase (LPL) which converts fat into energy declines when you sit for long periods
- Hormonal imbalances are caused due to long hours of sitting, and this leads to depression
Some Simple Solutions
Modern day jobs often make sitting a necessity to earn a living. In such a situation, there are some simple things that we can follow diligently to reduce the health risks associated with sitting.
- Try to stand or walk at the slightest opportunity that comes your way – stroll to the water cooler every hour or walk to the window for a breath of fresh air now and then
- Make it a point to walk around whenever you are attending a phone call
- Conduct meetings or brainstorming sessions with colleagues while walking around campus instead of staying cooped up in a conference room
- Set a discreet phone alarm for every half hour to remind yourself to move about on days when you are engrossed in work
When we speak of moving around, it does not have to be a brisk walk or any vigorous activity of any kind. Just a stroll to get the blood circulating and standing up for a while to bring mobility to the muscles is sufficient if done on a regular basis.
The message here is that it is time to get going, quite literally and get yourself off the couch or the chair as much as possible. Do not wait for that numbness in your legs or hands to tell you that it is time to get up!