With the rise of consumer technology like TV, computers, smartphones, etc. people nowadays can get what they want by just tapping at their screens. This results in significantly less active lifestyles. Who needs to walk out to buy the milk, when you can just order it in through your smartphone?
While technology makes our lives easier, it also results in adverse effects on our physical and mental conditions. One of the hidden problems is “prolonged sitting”. In simple words, prolonged sitting means sitting at a place for a long period of time.
You may think “How is sitting harmful to my health? I do this everyday!”. Well, it’s not sitting that is harmful, but sitting for prolonged periods of time that is. And this is a problem that is unfortunately rising in our country. One major cause is the drastic increase in the number of smartphones users, who maintain a much more sedentary lifestyle. Another major factor is the rise of white collar office workers who work lengthy hours in front of computer screens.
WHAT ARE THE DANGERS OF SITTING FOR LONG PERIODS OF TIME?
Prolonged sitting impacts the lives of people and may lead them to develop certain physical and mental problems:
Increase the Risk of Obesity
Sitting for prolonged periods of time lowers the metabolic rate and thus increases the production of fat cells in your body. The same is observed by a study conducted at Harvard University which concludes that your body burns 30% more calories while standing than sitting.
Increase Psychological Stress
As per an article posted on Psychology Today, sitting can increase the level of depression, anxiety, and lower the neurological functioning of your brain.
Decrease Cardiovascular Health
Because the heart is just another muscle in your body, it works less hard while sitting. That’s why sitting too much is bad for your health. When your heart works less hard, your cholesterol levels and blood pressure increase.
Risk of Cancer
As per an article published in the British Medical Journal, sitting too much could increase your risk of certain cancers, specifically the risk of uterine cancer by 66%, lung cancer by 54 %, and colon cancer by 30%.
Increase the Risk of Early Death
A research published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine concluded that prolonged sitting is the cause of approximately 4% of death worldwide.
You may now have a better understanding about why sitting too much is bad for your health and understand more clearly the dangers of sitting for long periods of time. Here we will share 5 solutions to avoiding prolonged sitting.
Drinking water is a natural way to reset your mental clock, and encourage you to stand up and walk. Drinking water while working will incentivize you to go to the lavatory often, which acts like a fantastic reminder to stand up and walk for a while. This small yet important action can save you from the dangers of sitting for long periods of time.
TAKE A WALK AFTER LUNCH
This is another option that you should try. You can do this even at your workplace. Instead of sitting back at your desk, take a walk after eating your lunch. It will help you to digest your meal, and you can avoid prolonged sitting during office hours.
CHOOSE THE STAIRS
Most of the time people use escalators and lifts to reach their destinations. You can change things around. Instead of choosing the easy way out, you should try to use the stairs. Using the stairs will also strengthen your legs muscles especially your hamstrings and your glutes.
USE FITNESS BAND
This is a recent technological solution for people who tend to sit for long periods of time. Many companies have released various fitness bands with smart features. These intelligent bands have an automatic system to remind you and take a walk after a period of time. Such gadgets can help you to live a healthier life, even at your workplace.
SWITCH TO STANDING DESKS
This is a new advancement in ergonomics. Standing desks allow users to stand while working; this effectively decreases the adverse effect of sitting all the time. If you are running a company, we recommend you to provide your employees with a healthy work environment by using standing desks.
Standing is the opposite of sitting and decreases your risk of obesity; it also decreases blood sugar levels, lowers the risk of heart diseases, and reduces back pain. Mentally, periodically standing also refreshes your mood and raises your energy levels. Standing desks are an all-in-one solution to the problems coming from sitting for prolonged periods of time.
Living a healthy lifestyle is entirely a personal choice. However, if we do not make proper choices today, we run the risk of serious health consequences in the future.