It might sound extreme, but the phrase “sitting is the new smoking” isn’t quite as hyperbolic as you might think. Unfortunately, as a result of our lifestyles, careers and lack of activity, we have become more sedentary than ever before. Obviously, you may be wondering what’s so bad about sitting still for a while. The unpleasant truth is that sedentary (motionless, sitting down, stagnant) lifestyles usually result in numerous potential health issues.
At Farmingdale Physical Therapy, the health and wellness of our clients is our top priority. Additionally, you don’t have to be recovering from an auto or workplace injury or physical setback. Ultimately, we’re passionate about educating past, present and future clients on all the ways they can overcome risky habits and live healthier, longer and more fulfilling lives. In this post, we’ll discuss why sedentary lifestyles (sitting too much) is a problem. We’ll be exploring the numerous potential health complications they often result in and discuss how you can make positive changes towards a more active life.
Originally published on October 10, 2016, this post has been updated for relevancy and accuracy.
Sitting Too Much: Dangers to Your Health
Of course, this was likely the first potential issue to come to mind. A University of Minnesota study (conducted in London, England) compared the rates of coronary heart disease among employees of the London Transport Executive. The emphasis was on two kinds of workers: transit drivers who sat most of the day and conductors who were on their feet.
All subjects shared virtually identical diet and exercise habits, with similar lifestyles. However, the sedentary transit drivers were twice as likely to develop heart disease as their active counterparts.
Higher Risk of Dementia
This may be a surprise, but yes, sitting too much will increase your risk of developing dementia. People with sedentary lifestyles are at a greater risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, all of which are active variables within the condition. In addition, brain scans of those who sit most of the day bear an uncanny resemblance to the brains of dementia patients.
Believe it or not, even if you exercise each day of the week, a sedentary lifestyle will negate all of that. A constant exercise routine simply can’t counteract the effects of sitting for seven hours a day.
Higher Risk of Diabetes
Of course, if you’re sitting most of the day, every day, you’re not burning many (or any) calories. In addition, researchers claim there is a distinct connection between sedentary habits and the body’s reaction to insulin. Therefore, sitting too much can result in yet another serious health issue: diabetes.
What You Can Do
Buy a standing desk.
Replacing your regular sitting desk with a standing desk can eliminate most of the health risks that sitting all day poses. Additionally, if you’d like to lose weight, treadmill desks are an option, as well. With proper work area ergonomics, a sedentary career can easily become an active one.
Take a walk.
Take advantage of any free time – lunch breaks at work or after dinner at home – to get up and moving. Also, you don’t have to commit to 26-mile marathon training or do excessive push-ups and sit-ups. Simply walk at a brisk, moderate or even casual pace to keep yourself in motion. Try downloading fitness apps for motivation, guidance and progress updates.
Of course, many consider stretching to be just a warm-up to sports or exercise. However, stretching should definitely be part of your daily routine. Regular stretches are healthy for both mind and body.
Additionally, it won’t just improve flexibility, posture, injury prevention, nutrition, and soreness. Also, it relieves tension and naturally increases energy.
Conclusion – Farmingdale Physical Therapy West
Do you have any more questions about how to implement positive changes into your routine? Fortunately, at Farmingdale Physical Therapy West, our certified staff of physical therapists are always happy to consult with current or veteran clients on any topic.
In addition, we engage a client-centric approach in order to develop the most effective consultations and treatment plans for each individual client. Ultimately, this will ensure that you’re receiving the optimal level of care and insight for you.