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In the age of technology, our lives are becoming more and more sedentary. We spend hours at our desks and squatting at our computers, but our bodies pay the price. Sitting for long periods has become an epidemic that wreaks havoc on our bodies. From back pain to obesity to heart disease, the negative effects of sitting are many and serious. Studies show that sitting for long periods can be just as harmful to your health as smoking. But office workers aren’t the only ones affected. With the rise of technology, we are more sedentary than ever. Whether you’re watching your favorite show or scrolling through social media, you’ll spend more time sitting and less time moving. It’s time to tackle the sitting epidemic and take steps to protect our bodies. This article examines the dangers of sitting for long periods and offers tips to combat it.
What is the sitting epidemic?
The sitting epidemic is a term used to describe the increase in sedentary behavior that has occurred over the past few decades. With the rise of technology, many of us are spending more time sitting than ever before. Whether it’s at work, at home, or during leisure time, we’re sitting for long periods without realizing the negative impact it’s having on our bodies. The average office worker spends approximately 10 hours a day sitting, and that doesn’t include the time spent sitting in the car or on the couch at home. This sedentary lifestyle is taking a toll on our bodies, and it’s time to take action.
The negative effects of prolonged sitting on the body
Sitting on a chair for long periods affects nearly every single part of your body. Following are a few of the most common negative effects of sitting:
Prolonged sitting, whether on a sofa or chair, puts a large amount of pressure on your lower back region, which can lead to uncomfortable feelings and severe pain. The problem exacerbates when you sit with a very poor posture.
When we sit for extended periods, blood flow to our legs slows down, which can cause swelling, varicose veins, and even blood clots.
A little number of calories are burnt while sitting, as compared to standing which can burn a little more calories than sitting, this tends to increase weight causing obesity. Moreover, it was revealed by studies that prolonged sitting can make you very fat and obese.
Poor digestion is also a very significant effect of prolonged sitting, as it slows down the process of digestion and leads to constipation.
When we sit for extended periods, our muscles can weaken and degenerate, which can lead to poor posture and chronic pain.
How sitting affects different parts of the body?
Sitting for prolonged periods can affect different parts of our body in different ways. Here’s a closer look at how sitting affects different parts of our body:
When we sit for long periods, we tend to make a slouching posture by hunching over our computers or phones, which puts strain on the muscles of the neck. This in turn leads to pain in the neck and stiffness.
Sitting for long periods can also cause our shoulders to round forward, which can cause strain on our shoulder muscles and lead to pain and discomfort.
When we sit for long periods, our hip flexors can become tight, which can lead to pain and discomfort. Tight hip flexors can also lead to poor posture and chronic pain.
Sitting for long periods can cause blood flow to slow down in our legs, which can lead to swelling, varicose veins, and even blood clots.
Prolonged sitting also tends to swell our feet, especially while
wearing very tight and unfit shoes.
The link between prolonged sitting and chronic diseases
The negative effects of prolonged sitting go beyond just physical discomfort. Studies have shown that prolonged sitting can also increase the risk of chronic diseases, including:
Prolonged sitting can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, as it can cause a rise in blood pressure, bad cholesterol, and obesity.
Prolonged sitting can also increase the risk of diabetes, as it causes insulin resistance and poor blood sugar control.
Few studies have also revealed that prolonged sitting can increase the risk of specific types of cancer, such as breast, colon, and lung cancer.
Depression and anxiety
Prolonged sitting can also affect our psychological and mental health.
It increases the risk of stress, anxiety, and depression.
Sitting vs. standing: which is better?
Many people assume that standing is always better than sitting, but the truth is that both have their pros and cons. Here’s a closer look at the benefits and drawbacks of both sitting and standing:
Pros: – Comfortable – Can be more productive – Allows for better concentration
Cons: – Can lead to poor posture – Can cause back pain – Can
increase the risk of chronic diseases
Pros: – Burns more calories – Can improve posture – Can reduce the risk of chronic diseases
Cons: – Can be tiring – Can cause foot pain – Can lead to varicose
Tips for reducing sitting time at work
If you work in an office, it might be very challenging to get rid of prolonged sitting. However, there are some simple steps to reduce your sitting time:
Take frequent breaks
Take a break every 30-50 minutes. You can set the timer for this purpose. Utilize this break and perform a standing exercise, stretch, and walk for 10 minutes in the fresh air.
Use a standing desk
If possible, use a standing desk instead of a traditional desk. This will allow you to stand and work, which can reduce the amount of time you spend sitting.
Take walking meetings
Replace your conference room meetings with a walking meeting. This will not only prove beneficial for you, but also for your business pals.
Use a stability ball
Stimulate muscles of your core and rectify your posture by practicing on objects like a ball of stability.
Walk or bike to work
You must go to your office with a bicycle to help your body get rid of the side effects of sitting. Moreover, it refreshes your soul.
Incorporating movement into your daily routine
Reducing your sitting time at work is important, but it’s also important to incorporate movement into your daily routine. Here are some simple strategies you can use to get more movement into your day:
Take the stairs
Use stairs instead of an elevator. This allows you to get some exercise and reduces your sitting time.
Park farther away
When you’re running errands or going to work, park farther away from your destination. This will force you to walk more and reduce your sitting time.
Take a walk after meals
Take a quick walk after a meal. This will help aid digestion and reduce your sitting time.
Do household chores
Simple household chores like vacuuming or doing laundry can help you get some movement into your day.
Take a fitness class
Joining a fitness class can help you get regular exercise and reduce your sitting time.
Exercises to counteract the effects of sitting
If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort from sitting, there are some simple exercises you can do to counteract the effects of sitting:
On your hands and knees, alternate between arching your back up towards the ceiling and lowering it down towards the ground.
Hip flexor stretch
Place your right foot behind the left one and lunge forward. Keep your posterior leg straight throughout. Hold it for approximately 30 seconds and then switch legs. Do it alternatively.
Shoulder blade squeeze
Sit upright and gradually squeeze your scapula bones (shoulder blades) together. Hold for 5-10 seconds. Then release and repeat.
Stand upright with your back against the wall. Elevate your arms to form a “W” shape. Gradually lower your arms posteriorly down and repeat.
Lay down on the floor. Bend your knees and flatten your feet on the ground. Lift your glutes (hips) upwards and hold for 5-10 seconds before lowering down.
Ergonomic tips for a healthier workspace
An ergonomic workplace is mandatory for you if you work in an office. This can surely reduce many side effects. Here are some simple ergonomic tips to follow:
Adjust your chair
Make sure your chair is adjusted to the correct height so that your feet are flat on the ground and your knees are at a 90-degree angle.
Position your monitor
Adjust your monitor in a way that the top of the screen is equal to or slightly below the level of your eye.
Use a footrest
If your feet don’t touch the ground when sitting, use a footrest to keep them elevated.
Keep your keyboard close
Place your keyboard close to the body so that your elbows are making right angle (90-degree).
Take frequent breaks
Remember to take breaks frequently to stand up, stretch, and walk around.
Conclusion: Taking action against the sitting epidemic
The sitting epidemic is a serious problem that can have negative effects on our bodies and our health. However, by taking simple steps to reduce our sitting time and incorporate movement into our daily routine, we can combat the negative effects of sitting and protect our bodies. Whether it’s taking a walking meeting, doing household chores, or simply taking a quick stretch break every hour, every little bit counts. So, let’s take action against the sitting epidemic and prioritize our health and well-being.