By Gwenn Canlas I Published: June 28, 2020
Thanks to the worldwide pandemic and the mandatory lockdown, we are now literally sitting ourselves to death.
Yes, the simple act of sitting or lying down for too long while working from home, surfing the net, doing Facebook, or on the sofa while binge-watching your favorite Netflix movies, TV series, and Kdramas on VIU, can cause severe harm to your health.
The Sitting Disease
Known as the “Sitting Disease” by the scientific community, some experts equate the risk of sitting with smoking.
Thus, the phrase “Sitting is the new smoking” was coined by Dr. James A. Levine, MD, PhD., director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative.
Some medical experts believe the phrase to be accurate and some say it’s a myth. Perhaps, this is because it trivializes the risks associated with smoking.
Unlike smoking, sitting is neither an addiction nor a danger to others. But just like smoking, a sedentary lifestyle slowly harms your body in different ways.
Too Much Sitting
Prolonged sitting or lying down increases your risk of chronic health problems such as obesity, hypertension, certain types of cancers (breast and colon), type 2 diabetes, heart disease, organ damage, slower brain function, not to mention bone and joint damage.
So how do you reduce your health risks while you’re at work or relaxing at home?
Sit Less, Move More
Don’t let the lockdown stop you from being active. A few modifications to your routine can make a big difference.
Here are some suggestions to keep you moving while you’re at home:
– Rather than sitting down to read, listen to recorded books or listen to music while you walk, clean, or work in the garden.
– When tidying up, put items away in small trips rather than taking them all together. It’s good for your back, too.
– Stand up and do some chores like ironing, folding the laundry, or peeling and cutting up vegetables while watching your favorite Netflix movie or TV series.
– While watching TV, get up and walk around during commercial breaks. Use the time to hydrate yourself. Get up to get a drink of water.
– Stand while talking on the phone or watching TV.
– Stand up while you read emails or reports.
– Move your garbage bin away from your desk so you have to get up to throw anything away.
– When working on your computer, set your phone’s timer to remind you to stand up and move around every 20 minutes or so.
These activities keep the blood moving, aid digestion and allow the body to metabolize nutrients. Moving your muscles helps your body digest the fats and sugars you eat.
If you spend a lot of time sitting or lying down, digestion is not as efficient, so you retain those fats and sugars as fat in your body.
Even if you exercise but spend a huge amount of time sitting, you are still risking health problems.
Sitting also puts a strain on the neck and lower back, which are not designed to support the body in a sitting position for long periods.
If you consistently sit with poor posture or don’t use an ergonomically designed chair, poor posture may also cause poor spine health such as compression in the discs in your spine, leading to premature degeneration, which can be very painful.
Mortality Rate Up
According to Dr. Levine, people lose up to two hours of life for every hour they spend sitting.
A 2010 study by the American Journal of Epidemiology, with 184,190 participants reported that people who spent more than six hours per day sitting with low levels of physical activity have a 71 percent increase in mortality rate.
Dr. Levine further asserts that sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than human immunodeficiency virus ot HIV, and is more treacherous than parachuting.
Now, if that isn’t enough reason to get you off your chair, I don’t know what is.
Next Week, on Wednesday, July 1st, our topic is Acupuncture for the Sedentary Lifestyle
Please write in the box below your queries regarding our article for this week and suggestions.