We all know smoking is bad, but there’s another habit you have that could be doing you serious damage: sitting too much.
Try to add it up mentally: your daily commute, time working at a desk, relaxing at home on the lounge.
How much of your day do you spend sitting?
As well as the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle, too much sitting has been linked to an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and shorter life spans, according to a 2015 study.
Here are some of the other health problems linked to sitting for too long:
The organ that suffers the most from too much seated time is the heart. With your body inactive, your blood flow lowers and your heart works less. Long periods of sitting have been linked to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease. The lower rate of blood flow causes problems for the rest of the body, most noticeably in the brain. With less blood to energise this vital organ, you may find that your thinking gets slower.
One of the biggest problems from constantly sitting – especially leaning forward while you do so – is the negative effect on your back. Being stuck in the same position can lead to the spine becoming inflexible (and leading to a hunched appearance) while the full weight of the upper body rests on just one or two vertebrae – rather than the full arch of the spine – which can leads to herniated lumbar disks. This also has a run-on effect of sore neck and shoulders. A massage offers quick relief, but over the long term you can cause permanent issues with your vertebrae alignment.
Humans are designed to stand, walk and run for most of the day and by stopping these exercises you can encourage poor circulation (and increase the risk of DVT and blood clots) as well as weakening the bones in your legs.
When you sit, the job of supporting your body goes to your seat, meaning your muscles relax and go limp.
The main area where this is seen is with weak abs, while your hips and glutes also get weaker which can lead to balance issues when you get older.
What to do instead
In some jobs it seems like there's no getting around sitting down. What is important is to take breaks and get up for a quick walk. Whether you've got a spare minute between tasks, or an ad break has come on the TV, there's often time to get moving.
It may not seem like it, but office workers have a lot of options to get off their chairs, and even replace them completely. Using an exercise ball at your desk gives your muscles a slight workout – as they fight against the wobbles – while standing desks are also becoming more popular. Going for walking meetings and making sure you get up to grab a glass of water or a cup of tea throughout the day can also help.
Other ways to get your body feeling great again include stretching, yoga and tai chi classes.
For more natural remedies and ideas on how to improve your health, keep an eye on our Facebook page.
If you have any more questions, you can call us to book a FREE 15 minute chat with one of our Naturopaths to see how we can help you. Call now on (02) 4961 4075.
Yours in health,
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