Most individuals care about staying healthy — it is getting motivated that is the issue. Whenever you’re dreading exercise, it may be exhausting to search out any motive compelling sufficient to get you up out of your seat and push you to get moving

Because it seems, the getting up is as important because the train itself. And that is as a result of there’s an insidious well being hazard that is in-built to all of our lives. Are you prepared to listen to it? You are not going to need to sit down for this. 

The massive situation right here is, in truth, sitting an excessive amount of. Because the world modernizes and digitizes, we get to spend a lot more time sitting than in days of yore. The issue, an growing mountain of research reveal, is that sitting takes a toll on our well being. Whereas calling it the brand new smoking could be too extreme, it does have a damaging impact on a variety of essential well being elements. Let’s take a better look. 

How sitting impacts your physique

Man on phone slouches on chair, with leg extended.

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A number of sitting means you will have what specialists name a sedentary way of life. And that impacts your well being in severe methods. Analysis exhibits that individuals who sit so much (hours at a time) have a greater likelihood of:

In different phrases, the extra you sit, the extra possible you might be to take care of a number of the largest obstacles to each longevity and high quality of life. Continually staying in the identical place overuses some muscle tissue and underuses others, which may trigger cramps, strains or weak spot over time. It additionally slows down metabolism and blood stream, making it tougher for the physique to manage your blood sugar, blood strain and extra.

That implies that even if you happen to by no means get a severe prognosis, sitting could make you are feeling bodily worse day in and time out. What’s extra, sitting an excessive amount of can negatively affect your psychological state and even mind well being, too. As reported by Yale Medicine, sitting has been linked to depression and dementia.

To drive this all dwelling, a number of research have discovered that an excessive amount of sitting is associated with the next overall mortality, or death from any cause. This might be because of the direct well being impacts of sitting, or it could be as a result of sedentary existence are related to different behaviors that affect well being.

Lengthy story quick, if you happen to have a look at the growing physique of analysis about our seated existence, it is clear that sitting an excessive amount of is doing us no favors. 

4 methods to scale back the results of sitting all day

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Possibly you don’t have any alternative however to sit down so much. Whether or not you’re employed a desk job or have a incapacity that makes it essential to sit down continuously, you must know that you’ve got choices. The steps you are taking (fairly actually) could make a dramatic distinction within the sitting well being dangers you face.

1. Sit much less (if you happen to can)

To start out, if you happen to’re bodily ready, attempt to sit much less total. This would possibly imply elevating your laptop computer or monitor so you possibly can stand while you work or selecting to hearken to a podcast and go for a stroll as an alternative of watching an episode of a TV present.

Consider the place you spend essentially the most time sitting, whether or not that is at work, at dwelling or elsewhere. Then, search for methods to get in your ft extra. In the event you are usually on the sofa if you’re at dwelling, contemplate taking on an energetic passion or making extra concerned meals — that added time in your ft can do wonders. 

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2. Break up your sitting

When you do sit, break up long stretches of sitting as frequently as you can. According to one study’s findings, you should aim to get up every 30 minutes and move your body for three minutes. Even taking just 15 steps can be enough to reset your body and alleviate some of the stresses that come with sitting. However, the more movement you incorporate into your day, the better.

It might be helpful to set a timer for 30 minutes whenever you’re at your desk, as Dr. Erik Nastlünd, the Karolinska Institute professor who led the study, told the New York Times. Not only will this serve as a reminder to get up, but it can also help you focus. Research places the amount of time an individual can focus on one task somewhere between 10 and 52 minutes. By taking breaks every half-hour, you’re hitting that sweet spot. Knowing you have a timer running can motivate you to stay on task so you get more done during any sitting sessions, too.

To avoid sitting too much, it’s helpful to have things to do to encourage yourself to get up. If you’re able, you might:

  • Make it a habit to walk while you take phone calls
  • Use a smaller water glass/bottle and coffee cup so you have to get up for refills more often
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • If you take the train or the bus, choose to stand (you’ll free up a seat for someone who might need it)
  • Use your lunch break to talk a walk (you’ll get the added benefit of vitamin D)
  • Walk from one end of your house/apartment to the other between every episode of TV
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3. Exercise regularly

Make it a point to get moving every week day for at least 30 minutes. Regular exercise can help to counteract the health risks of sitting, although it won’t undo them completely. Officially, the US Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise; plus two or more days of strength exercises.

4. Sit the right way

Finally, when you do sit, make sure your seated position doesn’t put undue stress on your body. The best sitting position is one that:

  • Lets you rest your feet flat on the floor with your knees bent 90 degrees
  • Keeps your neck straight (you might need to elevate your computer monitor for this)
  • Helps your shoulders relax (you might want armrests on your chair, for example)
  • Lets you type or write with your elbows at a 90-degree angle and your wrists supported

Some people may also benefit from added support for their lumbar spine (basically, your lower back). You can buy a pillow to put in your chair to help maintain the natural curvature of your spine. 

Illustrated figure shows incorrect and correct seating postures.

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Ultimately, how much you sit directly impacts your overall health. This isn’t to say you can never enjoy a relaxed day lounging at home. But it’s worth evaluating how often you sit and for how long, so you can take measures to ensure you’re not sitting too much. 

For more wellness advice, check out the seven best workouts for absolute beginners and our guide to getting a great workout at home. Plus, here are the five absolute best workouts for heart health.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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