In recent times, advances in technology has fundamentally changed the way majority of the adults spend their waking hours. Where it was once the common to spend virtually all those hours on your feet- twisting, walking, bending and moving- it is now the norm to spend those hours sitting. The modern day office is built in such a way that you can make phone calls, check your emails and attend a video conference without having to get up from your chair.
On an average, we tend to spend 9-10 hours sitting. Unfortunately, even a 40-60 mins workout is not enough to counteract the effects of sitting for so long. While it is natural for one to sit around for a brief period of time, long periods of sitting day-in and day-out can have an adverse impact on one?s health. At the molecular level, our body is designed to be active for large periods of time. When you restrict your movement for large periods of time, you?re telling your body that it?s time to shut down and get ready for death. When one sits directly after eating, blood-sugar levels tend to spike up, whereas getting up after you eat can cut those spikes in half!
These are the following organs sitting for long hours can affect:
- Heart: When you sit, the blood flow slows down and muscles burn lesser fat. This makes it easier for fatty acids to clog your heart. The Journal of the American College of Cardiology has claimed that women who sit for 10 or more hours a day may have a greater risk of developing heart diseases than those who sit for 5 hours or less.
- Pancreas: Your body?s ability to react to insulin is affected only by one day of excess sitting, which will lead to increased amounts of insulin in your body. Therefore, increasing the chances of diabetes.
- Neck and Shoulders: It isn?t uncommon to hold your neck and head forward while working at a computer. This can lead to your cervical vertebrae getting strained along with permanent imbalances, which can lead to neck strain, sore shoulders and back.
The 2015 Inaugural Active Working Summit presented findings that sitting increases:
- Uterine Cancer by 66%
- Lung Cancer by 54%
- Colon Cancer by 30%
The experts recommend the following to avoid and/or reduce health issues:
- Take hourly breaks. Just get up from your desk and go for a quick walk anywhere
- Stretch. If you don?t have anywhere to go, touch your toes, walk at a pace for a few minutes and do a good set of jumping jacks
- Take a meeting on the move
- Make it count. Get a pedometer and try to clock 10,000 steps per day.
- Tap Your Feet. You can do this exercise without leaving your chair! All you have to do is place your feet on the floor and start tapping them quickly. It is advised to increase your speed gradually. This exercise will increase the heart rate very quickly and get the blood flowing properly. The only downside is the noise it will create, so let?s pray that your co-workers are compassionate.
- The Praying Position. You can even do this exercise during that long and boring meeting that you have to sit through. All you have to do is sit up straight, with your feet flat on the ground, and bring the palm of your hands together, like you?re praying for something (like for the meeting to get over). Now push your hands together as hard as possible. Hold this for about 15 seconds and release. Repeat this sequence several times.
- The Wall Sit. This one does require you to get up from the chair. Find a wall, pretend that you?re sitting on a chair while leaning your back on the wall. Your feet should be away from the wall and your knees should be as bent as possible. You could distract yourself by reading a book.