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The Dangers Of A Sedentary Lifestyle: Why Sitting Is The New Smoking

Category: Healthy Living

Quite an exaggeration when considered at face value but according to a wide body of research, inactivity is responsible for more annual deaths than smoking. A sedentary lifestyle has also been associated with 6% of coronary heart disease cases, 7% of type 2 diabetes, 10% of breast cancer cases and 10% of colon cancer cases globally.

Question: Since when did it become a good idea to take movement breaks at work?

Answer: Since sitting became the new smoking.

Here’s how:

1. Increases diabetes risk by reducing your body’s ability to process insulin.

2. Reduces brain activity due to lower blood flow

3. 2 hours of sitting reduces good cholesterol by 20%

4. Increases risk of heart disease.

Now, think about it again, most workers spend more time on their butts than on their feet. Overall, the average human now spends almost 20 hours either sitting or lying down and this could lead to serious health issues later on.

There’s a direct relationship between the time spent sitting and a person’s risk of early mortality of any cause, researchers said, based on a study of nearly 8,000 adults. As your total sitting time increases, so does your risk of an early death.

So, can increased physical activity reduce the risks?

Unfortunately,the answer isn’t that simple because while your fitness habits can have an impact on your weight, they do not necessarily counter the effects of sitting for too long. Yes, sitting too long can still kill you, even if you exercise

The positive news: People who sat for less than 30 minutes at a time had the lowest risk of early death.

Experts suggest taking a movement break every 30 minutes. No matter how much you exercise, sitting for excessively long periods of time is a risk factor for early death, a new study published in Annals of Internal Medicine found.

So what can you do about it?

It’s easy to just say “Sit less, move more” like the American Heart Association encourages people to do. However, this simplistic guideline doesn’t quite cut it, because it’s like telling someone to just ‘exercise’ without telling them how.

How about deskercises?

This is where desk exercises – or deskercises as we call them – come in. You can think of it as a compromise between sitting for eight hours and hitting the gym when you just don’t have the time. Below are five creative exercises you can do right at your desk that will get you moving better (but sweating lesser).

1. Chest Opener

Stand tall with your core braced. Place both hands behind your head with fingers interlaced and lean back. The goal is to open the chest and stretch pectorals (no back bend necessary). Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Do 2 to 3 reps.

2. Toe Raises with Chair

Stand behind your chair and place both hands on the back. Press your shoulders down and rise on to the balls of your feet, squeezing butt and legs as you hold at the top for 3 to 5 seconds. Do 3 sets of 15 to 20 reps.

3. Desk Push-Up

With your chair out of the way, stand two feet away from the desk. Lean forward and place both hands on the edge of the desk, so your body is at an angle. Perform a push-up by bending the elbows and lowering your chest toward the desk. Make sure your elbows are close to the torso. Do 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps. Ensure your desk is sturdy enough and won’t shift under your weight.

4. Chair Squat

Stand in front of your chair and perform a squat by bending the knees to lower yourself into the chair. Keep your arms extended at chest height. Tap your butt on the chair (don’t sit down!), then stand. Do 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps.

5. Rotating Lunge

Stand with your feet wider than hip width. Drop into a lunge by rotating your torso to the left, pivoting on the toes, and bending your left knee and right knee behind you. In one smooth movement, return to stand at your original position, then rotate to right and repeat lunge on the other side. Do 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps.

Additional tips

1. Stand up every 30 minutes

2. Stand whenever you’re going to have a short meeting.

3. If you have to send a long email, walk.

4. Stretch!

5. Make a conscious decision to move around more.

Also read: 5 Desk Exercises You Can Legit Do At Work

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