4 Shocking Reasons To Stop Sitting So Much (tips included)
By Kat Gal
Working at a 9-5 office job, driving in your car, riding the bus, sitting down to eat your meals, Netflix marathons and TV binges, coffee-dates with friends, checking your email, watching YouTube videos for hours, playing video games, curling up with a book, texting with your feet on your coffee table…
How many hours do you sit during the day? Seriously, just think about it. The numbers are shocking.
People are sitting up to 15-16 hours a day, which means they are spending most of their waking hours in a sitting position.
Not only does sitting not feel good after extended hours, but it is more damaging to your body than you think.
Sitting our life away can be detrimental to our health and lower our life expectancy. Studies keep coming up and body aches are physical proof that sitting affects us, head to toe.
Sitting For Extended Periods Of Time…
1. Is Linked To Organ Damage.
When sitting for prolonged periods, you burn less fat and your blood flow is slower, giving fatty acids a chance to clog your heart more easily. It increases your chances of heart disease by 64%. Sitting has been linked to high blood pressure and bad cholesterol. It can cause over-productivity in the pancreas, as studies have found a decline in insulin response even after one day of extended sitting. Sitting has been connected to belly fat and obesity. Moreover, studies have linked sitting to an increased risk of colon, breast and endometrial cancers.
2. Is Linked To Muscle Degeneration, Back Problems And Leg Disorders.
When you are moving or standing, your abdominal muscles tighten up, keeping you upright or straight. Sitting and slumping in a chair causes poor posture, leading to weak abs and a tight back. Sitting causes inflexibility in the spine, back pain and increased risk of herniated disk damage. Due to the limited range of motion, sitting leads to tight hips, causing decreased hip mobility and hip pain. In addition, sitting does nothing for your butt muscles, yet soft glutes negatively affect your stability and decrease your ability to walk or run. Sitting for a long time leads to poor blood circulation in your legs, causing swollen ankles and even blood clots. The lack of activity has also been linked to weak bones and osteoporosis.
3. Is Linked To Problems With The Head, Shoulder And Neck.
Sitting doesn’t allow your muscles to pump fresh blood and oxygen through your brain effectively, therefore, it is not surprising that sitting for an extended period of time is linked to slowed brain function and ‘brain fog.’ When we are sitting, we are also usually sitting with bad posture, looking down, having our neck bent towards the keyboard and arching our backs or tilting our heads while taking on the phone. Poor neck and head posture when sitting puts strain on the cervical vertebrae, leading to permanent imbalances and damage. Sitting for extended periods of time with a poor posture overextends our shoulder and back muscles, causing pain and potentially chronic muscle pain.
4. Is Linked To Increased Mortality.
Studies have shown that people who watched the most TV had a 61% greater risk of dying than those who watched less than an hour of TV one day. Looking through all the problems sitting can cause, it is not surprising that sitting regularly for extended periods of time not only leads to pain and illnesses, but earlier death as well.
So What Can You Do?
You may not be able to give up sitting completely, but there are many things you can do to prevent damage and feel better.
1. Move Your Body: Regular movement boosts natural antioxidants that kill free-radicals that are potentially cancer-causing. Go for walks and exercise regularly. Make sure to do both cardio and strength training often.
2. Take Breaks: Stand up at work and stretch or walk around. Walk during commercial breaks and stand up when speaking on the phone.
3. Get A Standing Desk: Standing desks are great because you can still get all your work done without damaging your body. More and more workplaces are warming up to the idea of this so ask management if this may be an option for you.
4. Stretch Or Try Yoga: Stretching your hip flexor will help you with better range of motion. Try the cow and the cat pose for your back. Stretch your muscles to avoid and alleviate stiffness.
5. Sit On An Exercise Ball And Practice Good Posture: Sitting on something wobbly like an exercise ball forces your core muscles to work and helps you sit up straight. When you must sit, practice good posture instead of slouching.
Kat Gál is a multi-passionate writer, world traveler, nomad, runner, and cat-person. She is a lifelong learner who lives outside of her comfort zones stretching her boundaries and discovering beauty around the world. She is a Certified Holistic Health and Life Coach who encourages others to embrace their unique authentic selves, follow their heart and find their own version of freedom in life.
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