The biggest negative factor in the evolution of man is a sedentary lifestyle contributing to poor health and increased mortality. From a physically active species engaged in hunting and activity man’s progress has also become a common curse with many becoming couch potatoes at home or reeling under the ill effects of a desk job at work. Sitting too long can even kill you. According to WHO or the World Health, Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality causing an estimated 3.2 million deaths worldwide.
Technology has advanced leading to several household activities being performed by the press of a switch. Even man’s natural instinct for acquiring food can be browsed on the internet. That’s right! Don’t many of you get your groceries delivered to your doorstep? Your world is driven by a sedentary lifestyle which is killing you faster than you know it and science can prove it.
The damage done to your body by sitting too long cannot be undone even by moderate exercise. You need to be balance your sitting time with daily physical activity failing which you increase your rates of mortality.
1 Consider what happens when you sit for too long
Heart disease: Decreased blood circulation. Your muscles will b urn less fat. Fatty acids clog your arteries. Women sitting for 10 hours a day increase the risk of heart disease.
Pancreas: The ability of your body’s insulin response is affected by a single day of sitting reducing its effectiveness by 24% inviting the risk of diabetes.
Colon Cancer: Excess sitting increases the risk of colon, breast and endometrial cancers. Lung cancer is increased by 54%, uterine cancer by 66% and colon cancer by 30%. These were findings presented at the 2015 Inaugural Active Working Summit.
Muscle atrophy: Muscle atrophy is when your muscles become weak and decrease in size due to lack of physical activity. Your leg muscles and glutes especially weaken increasing the risk of injury. Moreover you increase the risk of fibromyalgia or muscle fatigue.
Bad back: You will definitely increase your back problems due to spinal degeneration.
Weight gain: Movement enables your muscles to release molecules like lipoprotein lipase which helps process fats and sugars. Sitting all day prevents the release of such molecules increasing weight gain especially in your rear end and abdominal area. The effectiveness of fat burning enzymes decrease by 90%.
Lack of energy: Physical activity increases the growth of mitochondria in our bodies which are the storehouses of energy. Lack of physical activity results in fatigue and loss of energy.
Poor digestion: According to Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease, sitting compresses the contents of your abdomen leading to cramping, heartburn reflux and constipation as well as microbial imbalances in the body.
2 Scientific study proves that sitting too long can kill you
A paper published by researchers in the annals of Internal medicine on January 20th 2015 looked at 47 studies that examined the relationship between sitting and mortality. It observed that more than half of an average person’s waking hours is dominated by sitting, working at a desk, a computer, watching television or doing just about nothing at all. This was a shortcut to the grave even for those who exercised up to an hour a day. Moreover those who sat all day long increased the risk of cardio vascular disease, type II diabetes, cancer and several related diseases.
3 Sitting too long increases the risk of death by 24%
The research also found that among those who sit for lengthy periods invited a 24% increase of death from health problems during the course of the study which lasted between 1 to 16 years. This was in sharp comparison to those who sat less. Consider this fact According to Doctor I-Min Lee of Harvard Medical School: YOU BURN 30% MORE CALORIES WHEN YOU’RE STANDING THAN WHEN YOU’RE SITTING.
It’s unfortunate that a fear of early death isn’t enough to motivate people to change their habits feels Doctor Lee, but losing weight is a huge incentive when it comes to sitting less every day.
4 What you can do to counterattack the effects of sitting too long
- High intensity exercises or HIIT are new age exercises integral to a healthy lifestyle. However 60% of Americans do not engage in any vigorous activity. What one needs to do is get up from that couch and start moving.
- Set a goal of 7000 to 10000 steps a day i.e. walking for 90 minutes.
- Walk across to colleagues instead of sending an email
- Take the stairs and avoid the elevator
- Park your car further away from an entrance
- Use an exercise ball for a chair
- Use an upright wooden chair with no arm rest
- Set a timer to remind you to move around
- Stop sitting too much at home
- Go shopping for groceries at a store rather than the internet
Perform these stretches that will benefit your body after sitting too long all day
Supported back bend: To improve your spine.
Rotational lunge to build strength in your back and feet
Shoulder opener: to reduce stress in the shoulders
Star reach: stretches mid back, shoulders, chest, hips and ankles
Low cobra with elevated feet or Hip flexors: Increases hip flexibility