There is a popular saying in the health world that ‘ sitting is the new smoking.’ Yes, prolonged sitting has been compared to smoking cigarettes because a sedentary lifestyle can cause many health hazards like smoking.
Do you know that the average American adult spends 6 to 13 hours sitting in a day? How hazardous can that be? You don’t know? Then you’re in the right place.
Sitting may seem the comfiest after sleeping.
However, let me tell you that when you sit for too long, you may be inviting lingering health problems.
I know you are wondering what kind of health problems can be caused by too much sitting.
Recent studies have shown that sedentary behavior can lead to obesity, coupled with a higher blood pressure, higher blood sugar levels, more body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels.
Further, prolonged sitting can also increase the chances of dying eventually from cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
Your back, neck, hips, and even your spine can be affected by sitting for prolonged hours.
Your joints and muscles need to be mobile in order to remain flexible. Therefore, when they stay in a static state, there’s a high tendency of developing back, neck, and spinal related issues.
Do you know prolonged sitting doesn’t only cause problems to your physical health but also your mental health? When you sit for an extended period, you begin to develop mental stress.
You won’t want to attract all these health hazards.
So, you have to reduce your sitting time and try to move at least every 30 minutes no matter where you are.
Recent research shows that you need at least 60-75 minutes of physical activities in a day to combat the numerous hidden dangers of prolonged sitting.
So, can you see how dangerous it is to sit all day?
Remember when I earlier likened sitting to smoking? You now know what I mean, right?
Now you know how bad a sedentary lifestyle can be on your overall health and well-being. With the health implications mentioned above, your work, sleep, and even your daily activities will be affected when you develop pain in those sensitive areas of your body.
You may wonder how possible it is to be mobile with a pile of office tasks or with nowhere to go apart from binge-watching TV series. The truth is, it’s not as challenging a task as you may think.
There are lots of things that you can involve yourself in to add physical fitness activities to your day.
In this article, I will expertly discuss the problems and hidden dangers associated with sitting in a spot without movement for prolonged hours. I’ll then proceed to offer tips on how to reduce your sitting time.
Sitting Is The New Smoking: Effects of Prolonged Sitting
Sitting for unreasonably long hours is doing your body more harm than good. Those pains that you feel or occasional health issues you face may be partially due to your sedentary lifestyle.
As cigarettes are dangerous to health, so is prolonged sitting. Your prolonged sitting is that silent killer that you’re not aware of. Don’t wait until you start seeing the effects. Try to correct your lifestyle and live healthily; engage in physical activities during the day to maintain balance.
Now the following are the effects of prolonged sitting:
1. Weight Gain
As I’ve earlier mentioned, prolonged sitting is one of the huge causes of obesity. Just sitting without engaging in lots of physical activities during the day can be hazardous.
‘How does sitting affect my weight?‘ You may ask. Well, your digestion process needs the mobility of your muscles to help your body digest the fats and sugars you eat.
So, when those fat and sugars are not properly digested, where does it remain? It lies as waste in your body, leading to a bigger and fatter you.
Also, note that even when you engage in exercises and still prefer to sit all day on your couch, you still risk obesity.
2. Hip And Back Pain
Likewise, there are higher tendencies of developing back and hip pain when you sit for prolonged hours.
Your muscles and joints in your back and hip need regular stretches to be flexible enough to withstand pains.
And when those muscles get stuck and tight, what happens? You’d feel acute and excruciating pain in your back and hips.
Also, sitting with the wrong posture contributes to hip and back pain. Therefore, your hips and back will not support your entire body needs due to sitting for prolonged hours.
To regain your hips and back, you may have to visit an expert chiropractor to alleviate the pain. Find the best and nearest chiropractor around you, and you can be sure you’d be agile once again.
3. Anxiety And Depression
As I explained in my introduction, prolonged sitting does not only affect your physical well-being, but your mental health as well.
Most people do not realize there’s a link between a sedentary lifestyle and balanced mental health.
So, when you start sitting in one position for a longer time, you’re doing more harm to your mental health.
Anxiety and depression are evident in the lives of people who love their couches more than physical activities.
They easily get frightened and distracted. Worse still, imagine all sorts of dreadful things and easily fall into depression.
You don’t want to be part of this set of people.
4. Cancer And Heart Disease
Surprised? Don’t be. I’ve earlier warned you that prolonged sitting does you no good.
Recent studies have also revealed that a sedentary lifestyle could cause lung cancer and colon cancers.
Although the reason prolonged sitting causes some of these harsh ailments, these cancers haven’t been known yet. But is it worth the risk?
Also, sitting for long hours has been linked to heart diseases. When the heart is not subjected to proper exercise, it may lead to dysfunction of the heart, and you don’t want this.
How To Reduce Sitting Time
This section is just an add-on to help you know how to reduce the hours you spend sitting. Here are some tips on how to reduce sitting time:
- Take regular breaks from looking at a screen.
- Stand instead of sitting when you can.
- Stand up at work and engage in healthy conversations.
- Plan in some active time when you are usually sedentary.
- Set time limits on sedentary behavior.
- Get a partner who you can walk long distances together.
Prolonged sitting is just another vice as smoking, and it has damaging effects on your overall well-being, physically and mentally.
I’ve shown you the hidden effects that come with excessive sitting– horrendous, aren’t they? I hope you try as much as possible to avoid sitting for too long.
Hats off, I’d advise that you take seriously the tips given to reduce sitting hours and stay healthy.