Do you sit for more than 9 hours a day? Do you spend more time in front of ‘screens’ than with your friends and family? If your answer is yes, then you need to get out of your chairs and couches and start walking! Why? Because sitting for long hours does you more harm than you could ever imagine, as more and more studies out there are suggesting that “Sitting is the new smoking”.
As the humdrum of life gets to you, drained out and exhausted, all you want to do is order in, kick back and relax while you get comfortable in your couch, watching prime time television. The human psyche plays an important part here; as such individuals find comfort after a hectic day to be quite tempting. And so a sluggish lifestyle prevails. Surprisingly, we sit more than we sleep. Approximately, 9 hours of sitting as opposed to approximately 7 hours of sleep (which is the normal requirement for an average person). Well, that should wake you up from slumber. Sedentary activities include – watching TV, spending time on your PC or smartphone, doing paperwork, traveling through public transport (Excluding sleeping – surprisingly, that burns calories. Go figure!)
A very extensive jointly conducted 2011 study by Loughborough University and the University of Leicester had thoroughly examined the connection between the amount of time spent in sedentary activities like lying down or sitting when awake and the probability of the occurrence of a cardiovascular disease, death caused due to such a cardiovascular disease (for example – heart attack), diabetes or any other reason. The findings of the study were shocking. In comparison to the shortest time spent on sedentary activities, the longest amount of time that was spent on sedentary activities was linked to:-
• A whopping 112 per cent rise in risk of diabetes
• 147 per cent elevation in incidents related to heart disorders
• 90 per cent upsurge in a death caused due to a heart disorder.
• 49 per cent escalation in death which is the result of any other cause
Research shows, you could go bonkers as well (not joking, really). This study might not make it clear if such an indulgence in sedentary activities directly makes you susceptible to such risk. But it does make one thing absolutely clear which is – that an average adult must do a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate to intensive physical activity every week (yes, that does not include your late night trips to the refrigerator).
Now you may ask “Why on earth can I not burn away the harm caused to my body by last night’s cheese burst pizza simply by sitting?”. Oh, that seems so harmless doesn’t it? Well, here is some science for you – apparently, sitting for a considerably long time in the same position causes your muscles to burn less amount of fat. You increase your chance of having a high blood pressure or a heart disorder. Any myth that needs to be busted is that sitting causes a person to feel less hungry. Actually, it’s the opposite. Suppose, you have been constantly working on your laptop well beyond midnight. In such a scenario, you will obviously feel hungry since your last meal was almost six hours ago. This is followed by a quick trip to the kitchen to put an end to those stomach growls.
Apparently, sitting is the new smoking because it is as toxic. Now you must be wondering “How can I sit without the act killing me in the process?”. You should know that spending the entire day behind the desk and then munching chips while watching a TV show is just well, um, deadly. Hey, you can easily carry with yourself a pair of small weights which you can use any time you want to during your office hours.
Here are some more convenient tips for you while you’re at the office :
• Take breaks after every thirty minutes while you are at your desk either by going to the washroom or just a quick walk to the water cooler.
• Walk over to your coworker’s desk to convey the same message you probably would have sent via an email.
• Instead of the elevator, take the stairs while coming in and going out of the office. Always have an excuse to use the stairs. If you have time, you can walk up and down a few flights of stairs.
• If your workplace is located at a distance that can be easily covered on foot, well then you should definitely do that. Ditch the car!
• Take the longest route possible walking to the photocopier in your office.
• If you’re the one who is in charge, consider carrying out your meetings outside, which involves walking and not at a crowded restaurant like you always do.
• Standing desks are now in vogue at many offices since they will keep you on your feet the entire day. If you do not have one, well then you need to figure out ways to be on your feet. Walk while you attend to a phone call, stand while sorting out a certain situation. You can also opt for a treadmill desk (don’t worry! It runs slowly so that you won’t fall off of it).
• As far as the sedentary habits of children and teens are concerned, parents must ensure that they earn their time in front of a television or computer like money and not just keep on sitting in front of it until they fall asleep. By making them do various chores around the house like cleaning their own room or even making it obligatory for them to go out and play for at least an hour can be some of the ways children and teens can be encouraged to earn their limited time in front of a TV or computer.
So what are you waiting for? Start walking more often and follow these simple tips to ensure a healthy life!