How to Reduce the Effects of Sitting All Day
How Long Is Too Long To Sit Still?
Any extended sitting at a desk, in front of a screen, or behind the wheel with no physical activity for more than eight hours a day can pose ill health effects from inactivity. This can be especially prevalent for people who have a 9-to-5 job or even a profession that requires you to drive or fly for long hours. Prolonged sitting brings harmful repercussions that have been equated to smoking. Yet, many people have failed to understand the negative effects associated with these lengthy, uninterrupted sitting throughout the day.
Regardless of your age, gender, BMI, and exercise habits, sitting for excessively long periods of time can lead to detrimental health risks in the long run. In fact, according to a recent study of 8,000 adults by the Annals of Internal Medicine, there is a direct correlation between time spent sitting and one's risk of the early death of any cause.
Research has also linked sitting for prolonged periods with a number of health concerns including high blood sugar, increased blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels, and obesity. On the other hand, if you are physically active, your overall endurance improves, your bones maintain strength, and your bowel functions more efficiently.
Signs Of Sitting Too Much
Some of the common signs of sitting too much include foregoing your daily run or HIIT session, watching too much TV, and hiding out in your house. Similarly, sitting for prolonged periods of hours also comes with some physical manifestations such as sitting with round shoulders, blood clots forming in your legs, slower digestion, excess body fat around the waist area, and chronic pain that randomly flares up with no discernable cause.
Furthermore, scientific research conducted by the Sleep Foundation proves that a sedentary lifestyle can cause sleep issues, which might lead to sleep deprivation and elevated risk of insomnia. Consequently, not enough or poor-quality sleep will likely mean less energy to perform physical activities the following day--leading to an endless cycle of less activity and sleep deprivation.
If you relate to any of the listed signs and symptoms of a sedentary lifestyle, it'll be wise to increase your physical activities to counteract the negative effects of too much sitting. Make sure to read through the next part of this article to learn what you can do to help your body bounce back and reduce the time you spend sitting each day.
How To Reduce The Effects Of Sitting All Day
If you spend prolonged hours sitting on a daily basis, it's not too late to implement more physical activities into your day and gain great health benefits in the process. The good news is, people can reduce the negative effects of total sedentary time by doing moderate to intense aerobic exercises and muscle-strengthening activities for two and a half hours every week.
Similarly, researchers from the Columbia University Department of Medicine recommend standing up and walking for five minutes at a brisk pace for every 30 consecutive minutes of sitting from your workday or at-home time. Aside from weight loss, physical activities can also have profound effects on your overall mental well-being and help increase your energy levels, especially as you age.
Here are some tips that you can do today to counter the effects of too much sitting and reduce your sedentary behavior for better health.
- Walk or cycle your way to work
- Find ways to walk or stand while you work
- Try parking further away from wherever you're going
- Opt for a standing desk or a high table if you work at a desk
- Stand while watching TV or talking with someone on the phone
It is also advisable to avoid making things too convenient or accessible from your desk. This will force you to get up and practice the habit of taking strolls for a cup of coffee. Another helpful tip is to use a smaller coffee cup or water bottle so you will be needing to go for a refill and get away from your desk more often.
And since spring break is just around the corner, don't let a break from school or work mean a break from moving more and staying active. Make the most out of the longer days and abundant sunshine by reinforcing a healthy and active lifestyle to your family.