A sedentary lifestyle is sad (at the level of health and fitness).
I remember, our grandfather used to yell at me and my brother when we would sit and watch TV for hours with a slouched back on our couch. He would warn us that not only would we ruin our spines but also that we were spoiling our eyes with the constant glare of the idiot box. And years later, my brother and I believe his words out of an experience, and we wish grandpa were alive to see us having changed our lifestyles for good.
Mind taking a wild guess on how many hours a person sits per day? At work, while traveling, the favorite TV/coffee breaks……?! According to research and survey, an average person sits for a whopping 12+ hours a day, that’s more than half a day! Excluding 6-8 hours of sleep in the remaining 12 hours and there is barely any physical activity. But fret not a physical activity is a cake walk. With a few simple tips and tricks, one could easily turntables.
Sitting for long hours without a break undoubtedly weakens the back and causes pain. With a majority of 9-5 jobs these days, it gets harder for people to avoid their chairs. Whether one is behind the wheel for long hours, or at a desk or in front of a screen, or even while away time in front of the TV, he/she is automatically linked to other health hazards apart from causing backache as an immediate effect. Let’s quickly run through the list:
1. Calories & Fat Won’t Go Away: Being inversely proportional, lower the physical activity, higher the weight. Sitting in your chair all day long results in poor metabolism and slow burning of calories thus increasing fat in the body and may eventually even lead to obesity. Fat around the waist and hip area are one of the most common results.
2. Muscles and Gym: Lack of activity leads to weakening of the muscles and also hits a delete button on your week-long efforts in the gym! It is important to be rolling throughout the day to make justice to your investment in the gym.
3. The Elderly & Dementia: Bodies of older people are delicate and show immediate effects of actions. While their bones and muscles are probably already weak and tired, inaction would lead to a permanent damage which must be avoided. With a little bit of exercise every day at regular intervals, they can ensure that they can manage their own washroom and bath trips throughout the day.
A condition called Dementia in which a group of thinking and social symptoms interferes with the daily thinking and functioning could also hit people especially among the elderly because of their age. Dementia rarely occurs to people below the age of 60-65.
4. Mentally Weak: Staring at your screens forever, sitting in a position without movement, freezing mental fluidity may all lead to the death of creativity, increase anxiety or disrupt sleep. Physical activity and breathing right directly affect the mind and thus breaks between sitting hours are extremely crucial to ensure a healthy functioning of the brain and mind.
5. Early Death: May sound ghastly but it is a proven researched fact that one could become prone to nearly 22-49% increase in the chances of dying earlier if they sit without movement for substantial periods of their lives.
6. High B.P. and Sugar Levels: Not only will you probably become obese, but obesity may further lead to increased blood pressure and high blood glucose levels. Research has suggested that people with no standing activity have 100+ percent chances of being victims of high blood sugar. Note that women tend to be far more prone to this as compared to men.
7. Abnormal Cholesterol: The first thing your doctor will suggest to you if you have cholesterol and are also overweight, is to reduce weight. This is because weight has a direct and negative effect on the body’s cholesterol and to ensure normal cholesterol levels, obesity needs to be controlled.
8. Heart at Stake: Developing heart diseases is a very common ill-effect of sitting for long hours without break. Studies claim that you could be at an increased risk of around 140-150% chances of being a victim of cardiovascular diseases or cancer.
9. Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT): In case of extreme inactivity of the leg, a clot may be formed and it could get really serious if the clot breaks free and lodges into your lunch. Note that the condition may either cause extreme pain and swelling or no symptoms at all.
10. Varicose Veins: With negligible or no leg exercise through walking or standing, blood may get pooled in the leg(s) owing to gravity pull, leading to swelling, twisting, cramp or bulge of the veins. Medically called Varicose Veins, you may also see spider veins, bundles of broken blood vessels nearby and can be very painful.
While you watch out and start prepping to avoid these symptoms of sitting for long hours, also make note that none of these can be compensated with an hour of walk early in the morning or at the end of the day. What it instead takes, is a regular activity in the body throughout the day- even if the break means for just a couple of minutes!