For the majority of humans, 21st century has now become more of a sedentary lifestyle.
‘Sedentary lifestyle’ is a term used to describe people who are engaged in prolonged periods of sitting while doing their desk jobs or just simply being inactive for the whole day.
Human bodies are designed to be moving and movement improves your posture, promotes physical as well as mental well-being.
But chances are that right now, you must be sitting for prolonged hours with a bent spine, curved shoulders and must be looking straight into your devices with an arched neck to read this article. Hence, my friend you are suffering from ‘The Sitting Disease’. This article is just to help you in the right way, how you can minimize the effects of a Sedentary Lifestyle.
LEARN: What are the side effects of sitting disease?
According to a study mentioned in The Economic Times, around 38 per cent of the working population in India spends 40 per cent of the daily time, only sitting citing long working hours as a major deterrent.
The survey shows that among those who do not walk, move or stretch regularly, 15 to 21 per cent of people suffer from various health issues mentioned below-
When you sit down, your energy expenditure is very less, because you’re not using any muscle groups to burn calories. However, when you move, your muscles release an enzyme named Lipoprotein Lipase in your blood vessels (capillaries). These molecules help in the breakdown of fats and glucose that you consume via food. Not performing any type of physical exertion in a day can lead to weight gain or in some severe cases obesity.
2. Premature Deaths.
Emerging studies around 54 countries explain that over 60% of people worldwide spend more than three hours a day sitting down -the average in adults is 4.7 hours/day and this is the culprit behind 3.8% of deaths (approximately 433,000 deaths/year). Hence, “It is important to minimize sedentary lifestyle in order to prevent premature deaths around the world.”
3. Chronic Fatigue.
If you are hunched down on you’re device’s screen right now, then this might be one of the major reasons for your back, shoulder, or spine stiffness. As continuous static loading, over muscles or tissues in one pose for prolonged hours will create unnecessary pressure on your back and spine causing fatigue and stress onto those muscles.
4. Metabolic Syndrome.
Spending your days doing a minimal level of physical activity, lessens the release of fat-burning enzymes in your blood. This tends to slow down your metabolism level.
Zero to minimal muscles due to regular working hours can therefore lead to a very slow breakdown of fats from the bloodstream which causes metabolic syndrome. These conditions include increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels which further lead to Cardiovascular Diseases.
5. Increased Risk of Cancer.
Researchers found that, with each 2-hour increase in people’s sitting time per day, their risk of colon cancer increased by 8 per cent, and women’s risk of endometrial cancer increased by 10 per cent. Also “Obesity is one major driver for multiple cancers,” and research has shown that obesity and sedentary behaviour are related to one another.
Studies have also shown that more time spent sitting after meals is related to higher blood sugar levels, which have also been associated with an increased risk of colon cancer.
UNDERSTAND: Why Motion acts like a Lotion?
The more you move, the more agile, flexible, and strong you’ll feel.
Regular movement, exercise, or stretching during work breaks can help you in keeping your muscles warmed up and joints lubricated.
Irrespective of the fact that our lifestyle and jobs today demands that we must sit and work, we can still make a difference in minimizing the side-effects of prolonged sitting by following few movement tips daily:
TIP 1: Improve Your Posture.
In order to eradicate the effects of prolonged sitting, try to focus on your sitting and standing posture. Sit with a straight back and spine with your phones/desktops/laptops/ just aligned in front of you in such a way that you don’t need to hinge your spine & shoulders down.
TIP 2: Take a Break.
Work breaks play a vital role in a regular desk job especially for those who require 8 or even more hours of sitting. Getting stuck in that chair for more than 1 hour can make your spine stiff and increase the risk of muscle shortness over time. Therefore, set a reminder as it becomes very important to get up from your work chair and walk after every 30-40 minutes. Also, incorporate 5 -10 minutes breaks for stretching of your spine and shoulders after every 2 hours.
TIP 3: Walk and Talk.
The best way to stay active in your day is by walking. Most of the time, we attend our calls while we are sitting or just lying around on a sofa. Simply choose walking and talking as your new lifestyle ritual. So that, on those really long discussions you could passively burn some calories too.
TIP 4: Get a Workout Buddy.
If working out is a punishment for you, make it a little more fun by getting a workout buddy. Try to join online or offline fitness clubs near your locality, try to meet new people with similar interests, share each other’s fitness journey and be vocal about your body goals, this will help you feel more motivated, determined, and self-committed.
TIP 5: Cut down.
Binge-watching over Netflix or playing video games is too common for young kids today. These some main reasons, why the upcoming generation feels distant from others and depressed at times. Replacing the use of T.V, the internet, and social media with any outdoor game like tennis, swimming or football is a good start to become more active and stress-free.
TIP 6: Be Old School.
Rather than taking that elevator all the time choose stairs to burn few more calories. Instead of investing in high-end luxury cars, choose to invest in walking or riding a bicycle while travelling nearby.
TIP 7: Rest and Relax..!
Many people indulge in overtime and end up de-prioritizing their rest days. Such people are more prone to face sickness, muscle fatigue, and even mental fatigue over time.
“For me, not working is the real working”- by Stephen King
Well just like work, rest is also a very crucial aspect, taking a day off from a regular desk job and workouts will help you recover from all that fatigue you end up causing to your body in a week. So, take that long nap, eat your favourite food and spend some quality time with your friends and family at least once a week.
Nowadays, being active regularly is very important in a sedentary lifestyle, 30 minutes of daily exercise alone can offset the risk of ‘The Sitting Disease’ to a higher extent.
Also, taking regular stretching breaks from work after every 30-40 minutes and emphasizing the right sitting posture while doing a desk job are two major factors that can help you maintain a better body posture.
Apart from this, regular sleep and rest days from work as well as exercise keep you motivated in your sustainable fitness journey ahead.
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