While Sitting Disease is not officially recognized by the medical community as a disease, doctors have determined that too much daily sitting can lead to a number of health concerns. It is estimated that most Americans sit an average of 13 hours a day and sleep 8 hours, leaving only 3 hours daily for some sort of activity.
These sedentary lifestyles affect many office workers, retired persons, and people whose jobs preclude their being able to exercise.
What Sitting Disease causes
Our bodies were not designed for extended sitting as it causes physical stress that even daily exercise often cannot overcome. Modern research links sitting for extended periods of time daily with many health concerns:
- Obesity is one of the chief conditions that results from a lot of daily sitting. The body’s metabolism slows down while you are sitting, and fat clearance comes to a virtual halt. This allows both weight gain and weight retention. Excess body fat (especially around the waist) and abnormal cholesterol levels are byproducts of extended sitting on a daily basis.
- Diabetes, high blood sugar, heart disease, and high blood pressure may result from prolonged daily sitting.
- People who sit a lot are also candidates for deep vein thrombosis (blood clots deep in the veins), especially in the legs.
- One study shows a 50% increase in risk of death from any cause, and a 125% increased risk of chest pain and heart attacks in people who sit for extended periods of time daily.
- Good posture is very difficult to maintain when you sit a lot because your pelvis rotates, placing pressure on the lumbar discs. This results in lower back pain. The sitting position also forces your head to move forward and your shoulders to curve, causing neck and shoulder pain.
- When you sit for prolonged periods of time, your entire metabolism slows down, resulting is less blood and oxygen going to your brain. Side effects from the brain’s loss of blood-borne nutrients and oxygen include lowered productivity and a less than satisfactory mental state that may even include mild depression.
5 Ways to prevent Sitting Disease
While going to the gym at the end of the day might seem like a good way to avoid the health problems caused by Sitting Disease, studies have shown that people who sit all day and then exercise later in the day may end up with the same health issues as those who do no exercise
If your job or lifestyle has you sitting a lot, here are some ways you can avoid Sitting Disease:
- Move around in your seat from time to time. Periodically stretch and wiggle. Compress and release your gluts. Have you ever tried Chair Dancing? Put your earbuds in and put on a good dancing song. Then move and groove in your chair to the song.
- Despite how engrossed you are in your work or what deadlines you have, get out of your chair every 45 to 60 minutes and do something that gets your blood pumping. Jumping jacks and yoga poses like downward facing dog increase blood circulation.
- Drink plenty of water. Dr. Fereydoon Batmanghelidj, an Iranian physician, has done some ground-breaking research on the body’s many needs for water, and how staying well hydrated can help you avoid many diseases.
- When talking on the phone, get up and walk around rather than sitting.
- Consider exchanging your office chair or desk for a treadmill desk, a standing desk, or a chair that promotes exercise such as an exercise ball chair.
This is the only body you will get for your journey through this lifetime. Use these handy tips to make it serve you well into your later years so you can avoid Sitting Disease.