In modern society, we sure do quite a bit of sitting. Actually, as you’re reading this right now, there’s an extremely high chance that you’re doing so while seated. It’s not rare and it’s not your fault, but most of us seem to be spending most of our waking hours sitting, and it may be one of the worst things out there for our health. Why you should stand Up?
Health professionals have always known that too much sitting is bad for our health, but research is starting to emerge on a regular basis on just how bad it may be. Studies have linked excessive sitting to a number of health concerns, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions that includes increased blood pressure and blood sugar, and abnormal cholesterol levels.
Bad posture and the common “craning” over a computer screen are also known to cause neck and back pain, while the overall lack of activity can lead to slower brain function due to less oxygen and blood flow. To make matters even more morbid, too much sitting has been found to increase the odds of cancer risk and untimely death.
Experts are not exactly sure why sitting for extended periods of time can lead to some of these nasty effects, but it’s likely due to the fact that sitting stalls many of the important bodily processes necessary for breaking down fats and sugars. Some people who sit too frequently also don’t get much exercise and have poor diets.
Unfortunately, getting the recommended 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five times a week will help, but won’t offset these risks. The only solution seems to be standing and moving rather than sitting as much as possible throughout the day. Here are some suggestions to help you get out of your seat and stand up:
- Consider one of the many alternatives for a standard desk: use an exercise ball or backless stool to work core muscles, a stand-up desk, or if you’re bold enough, try a putting your desk in front of a treadmill
- At work, try to stand up and walk around any chance you get; visit coworkers in person instead of e-mailing/calling them, have walking meetings rather than in an office, and do some cardio whenever possible
- If you work at home (or if possible at the office) take quick breaks every so often to do some yoga or other exercises to keep the blood flowing
- Park as far away as possible, use the stairs instead of the elevator, and always try to squeeze in some extra walking wherever you go
- After dinner, instead of turning the TV, go for a walk with your family
- When you do watch TV at home, try getting up during each commercial break or standing and doing chores or exercises for most of the time
Our bodies were built for moving about regularly and staying active, not for sitting most of our lives away. For more information on how you can stand more or for assistance with any aches or pains, Physical Therapy Doctors of Florida in Bradenton, FL can help. Call 941-264-1414 to schedule an appointment.