Did you know that sitting too long on your office chair can lessen your life drastically? While we wish that was just a myth, but unfortunately, it is the reality. Despite 6 million years of evolution under our belts, we have gone from being hunters and gatherers to getting too comfortable in our offices and houses.
Sitting has been tagged as the new smoking; simply put, sitting kills more than cancer and can be extremely dangerous. Sounds shocking enough, right? The effects of sitting too long has its own set of issues for the human body that has not been designed to sit, but only designed to be on the move constantly.
Exercise is not the solution to sitting long hours
You might be sitting for a long time at home or in your office. In order to counter this situation, you might work out in the gym daily. The main question is, does this negate the effects of long hours of sitting? Extensive research shows that even though exercise is good for your body, it still does not counteract the effects of sitting for a long time.
Dr. James Levine, the director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative, has been actively involved in studying the increasing effects of sedentary lifestyles and how the sole act of sitting is contributing to the deterioration of people’s health. Levine has coined the statement “sitting is the new smoking”.
On the contrary, some studies have proved to be conclusive, which have outlined the positive effects of movement throughout the day, as compared to just sitting at one spot for long hours.
In order to break the monotony of sitting, you can do the following things in a day:
- Take a walking break every 30 mins, if possible.
- Walk while you talk; move around when you are talking on the phone and watching tv, instead of just sitting in one spot.
- If your job is confined to a desk, shift to a standing desk, versus a sitting desk. This will help combat the problems of sitting too long.
- Use a treadmill-ready vertical desk at work, especially if you use a laptop. This way, you can walk while you work. Bid adieu to long sitting hours instantly.
Read our blog on tips to get the most out of your standing desk.
Why is sitting the new smoking?
Many people might find this statement rather odd, considering there is absolutely no relation between the two activities, namely, smoking and sitting. However, the health problems caused by sitting for long periods are worse than the health issues caused by smoking. Obesity, one of the most significant side effects of prolonged sitting, causes slower body functions, which in turn strains the heart functions eventually.
Did you know you can burn close to 50 calories, just by standing for one hour? Let’s do some basic math here; if you stand for 3 hours each day, 5 days in a week, you end up burning 750 calories without doing anything at all. In a year, that amounts to a whopping 30,000 calories burnt. Such is the power of standing. Burning calories might seem like a cinch, but it can lead you to be fit and increase your life span in the long run.
On a serious note, working long hours and sitting fixated at a spot can cause problems related to sciatica, cervical, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, amongst other ailments. After seeing the issues related to sitting, why would you want to reduce your life span, by indulging in such a life-threatening activity, such as sitting? Exercise, roam around as much as you can and see the difference in your life.