March 08, 2017

Sitting: Your Worst Enemy



 Today’s society is one that is inundated with leisure. People watch sports, play video games, and binge watch on Netflix. A multitude of activities that people do on the daily are done generally sitting down. The lack of physical activity has increased with the popularity of the television, which became a household item after World War II. Estimates from various studies say that as of 2013, 115.6 million homes have television sets. The majority of the population also are on cell phones, tablets, computers, and laptops, all used mostly while sitting down. It is said that an average adult in the United States spends about nine to ten hours on average sitting down. This uptick in sitting down has given our society a myriad of problems.

Studies over the years have shown that there is a link between a lack of physical activity and cancer. The reports suggest that exercise and other movement can reduce inflammation and irritation of the body. Without exercise and being active, the inflammation can lead to an increased risk of cancers. A study showed that within 90 seconds of standing up from sitting down, various muscle and cell systems are activated to regulate things such as cholesterol. When we sit, our blood circulation slows down and our muscles process less fat. This can allow for a buildup of unhealthy fats in our hearts. Additionally the brain’s overall function slows because of the drop in circulation efficiency.

Our posture also suffers when we sit for too long. Because we are generally leaning forward to our computer screens or looking down at our phones, strain on our necks, shoulders and backs form. Sitting also puts more pressure on our spines, and compresses the disks that make up our spines. This compression can make us lose flexibility and in general hurt our spinal cord. Ours hands also suffer from the constant key pressing and touch screen tapping, which can result in arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome.

To avoid the perils of sitting, you should take 10 minutes roughly every hour to stretch. Personally, I do leg exercises as I sit as well as minor hand and wrist exercises. You could also look into a standing desk setup that many places of work would accommodate. Nothing beats getting actual exercise in your free time however, and everyone, including myself, should have a solid weekly workout regimen. I know that I definitely will not let my office job affect my personal health. ‘Til next type - M.

Written by Michael Dour