Strategies to reduce, alleviate and offset your time sitting will benefit your body and your longevity.
Sitting down triggers your brain to slow metabolism and burn less energy. The result? Fat goes into storage. In fact, a new field of study called “inactivity research” corresponds with our modern habit of sitting at desks all day and on the couch all evening.
What are the consequences of sitting?
Remaining in your seat robs your body of much needed calorie-burning activity. It’s like leaving your car in the garage for a year and then expecting it to run smoothly the next time you start it. Read on for some downsides to sitting.
- Disease: Sitting increases your risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and liver disease.
- A shorter life: A higher risk of disease spells bad news for longevity. Compounded by poor diet choices, the immune system suffers.
- Back problems: You may slump in your seat or hunch over, ruining your posture and often leading to chronic back pain.
- Weight gain: Long sitting tempts us to snack. Weight gain + inactivity = trouble.
- Heart damage: Extensive sitting has been linked to obesity and raised risk of heart disease. Know your risk of blood clotting if you sit for more than 6 hours.
- Eye strain: When you’re sitting, you’re likely staring at a TV or computer screen. After long periods of time, this can lead to changes in color perception and blurred vision.
What can you do about it?
Exercise your right to stand. Who cares if your coworkers or your spouse think you’re crazy? If your boss feels that your frequent standing reduces productivity, try showing the facts and request a standing desk. Unfortunately, minimal amounts of exercise don’t offset the sitting damage, so get creative!
- Reduce or eliminate TV watching.
- Stand during meetings.
- Fetch a glass of water and visit the bathroom regularly.
- Walk to a friend’s desk instead of calling.
- Ride a bike to work.
- For a hobby, take up art and stand at your easel.
Get up, stand up! Visit Central Florida Regional Hospital’s Spine Care Center and learn what we can do for you. Call our Consult-A-Nurse® service at 1-800-445-3392 with questions or to schedule an appointment.