In current years, a sedentary lifestyle has become a new norm as we tend to spend most of our time sitting on a couch. Our laziness, coupled with the nature of our work, leads to an extended sitting time. Sitting or lying down with very no workout has become a way of living for most of us. Many of us spend our time sitting in front of screens on social or, binge-watching OTT platforms, or playing video games. Furthermore, the work from home culture due to covid has also converted our work into sedentary jobs, which involves long hours sitting in front of computer screens.
Complications associated with sitting all-day
Numerous research studies suggest that sitting more than eight hours per day can significantly increase the risk of many health complications. Some health issues that occur due to an inactive lifestyle are:
- Weight gain – Sitting for a longer duration can affect our digestive system to start working slowly. This way, our body cannot digest the sugar and fat we eat. It contributes to the deposition of extra fat in our body and ultimately gaining extra pounds.
- Stiffness – Continuous sitting in front of a screen can cause neck and shoulder stiffness.
- Impaired muscle strength – long hours sitting can weaken your leg and muscles that help you walk and stabilise your body. Sitting for long hours can also cause the wasting away of muscles. Muscle weakness and wasting can make people more likely to fall while walking.
- Hip and back problems – Extending sitting hours causes shortening of hip muscles, which leads to hip joint problems and hip pain. Long hours sitting can also cause back pain because of poor posture.
- Heart diseases – Many research studies show a link between excessive sitting and heart disease. If you have continuously sat for long hours, you may be more likely to have increased levels of cholesterol as well as poor blood circulation. This leads to an increased risk of heart disease in an individual.
- Diabetes – An inactive lifestyle is one of the major causes of diabetes. Lying on the bed or sitting on a chair for a full day can cause increased insulin resistance in your body. This leads to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus.
- Bone health – An active lifestyle plays a key role in supporting bone health and stimulating bone formation. At the same time, a sedentary lifestyle can lead to weaker bones and risk of developing osteoporosis.
- Cancer – According to some research studies, prolonged sitting increases the risk of breast, colon, lung, and uterine cancer.
- Anxiety and depression – Regularly sitting for hours with limited physical activity can result in anxiety and depression in some people.
How to reverse the effect of a sedentary lifestyle?
Lying or sitting for an extended period can deteriorate your health. One should get rid of the sitting disease. So, to nullify the effect of a sedentary lifestyle, we should include physical activity in our daily routine.
- Instead of using bikes or cars, we should prefer walking or cycling short distances.
- Avoid escalators or lifts; instead, take stairs as much as possible. Climbing stairs is convenient and provides health benefits like improving blood circulation, heart and lung function, bone health, etc. Furthermore, this physical activity reduces the risk of hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and cancer. If you are dealing with arthritis of the knee or hip, make sure you do not climb stairs.
- In case of a history of health conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, consult your doctor before vigorous physical activities to prevent unnecessary damage from exercise. You can consult a health care expert to discuss which exercise suits you for your medical conditions.
- We should be active even when we are at work. With some simple modifications during office hours, we can change our sedentary lifestyle to an extremely active one. Try taking stairs instead of the lift, walk for 30 minutes after having lunch, and instead of putting a water bottle next to your desk, consider walking to drink water every time you want.
An inactive lifestyle is a silent killer. Evidence is emerging that a sedentary lifestyle negatively impacts our health. Therefore, it is important to raise your activity levels, but you should also reduce your time sitting or lying on the bed.