Sitting down for long hours can have unhealthy repercussions. If you are a man who sits down for long hours, chances of developing metabolic syndrome or becoming obese are higher. This is more so if you sit down for long hours in front of the TV. The risk of women of developing these complications is lower than men.
Even when you exercise for several hours a week, the fact that you sit behind a desk for long hours or have a sedentary lifestyle puts your health at risk. When you sit down for long hours, the metabolic activities stop for as long as you are immobile and restart when you stand and move.
Also, when you are sitting, muscle movement stalls and there is less activity in your overall body. The inactivity weakens your muscles causing more fat deposits. It can also cause the bone mass to shrink.
What are the Health Implications of Sitting Down?
Research conducted on men and women has it that men have a higher chance of becoming obese and having an enlarged waistline. It is not clear why women’s sedentary behaviors do not hurt their health.
Cardiovascular complications were also higher on those who sat for long hours. Overall, all those who spent most of their day in front of a TV screen had a 50% chance of fatal illnesses from any common cause. They also had a 125% risk of developing cardiovascular problems such as heart-attack.
What is Metabolic Syndrome?
Metabolic syndrome is one of the risks those who sit for long hours might develop. It is a name given to multiple problems that include high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, high-fat levels around the waist and increased blood sugar levels. Having one of these conditions does not mean that you have the metabolic syndrome.
When you sit down for long, the inactivity means that the body fat is not broken down properly. This leads to high cholesterol levels. Obesity also comes together with high blood pressure and increased blood sugar levels. These conditions as a cluster can cause adverse harm to your general health.
When fat does not get broken down, it is stored, mostly around the waistline. It is more prevalent in men who sit down for long hours than in women. High cholesterol levels cause cardiovascular problems such as heart attacks and chest pains.
How Long is Too Long?
It is important to know the amount of sitting down time that can harm your health. It is recommended that you should not sit down for more than 2 hours continuously. If you sit down for 4 hours, stand up and get involved in a
vigorous activity for 30 minutes. The activity levels the harm caused by the sitting down time.
What if you sit down all day for several days then workout at least once a week? Will this be beneficial? Research findings show that the one off work out cannot offset the harm caused by sitting down every day. For this reason, ensure that you include an active activity all throughout your sitting down time.
If you drive for long hours, this too can lead to health problems. You can choose to break down the driving time to shorter distances where you get out of the car and walk around or just cycle to your desired destination. The physical motion will not only help you lose weight, but you will also feel much better about yourself. People who exercise more seem to be happier and have higher energy levels than those who choose a sedentary lifestyle.
How Should You Ensure You Stand up More?
If you love sitting in front of the screen the whole day, the health implications are enough reasons to make you get off the couch and look for more activities to fill your day. For those who work behind a desk, it might be tricky,but it is still doable. The mission is to get your body moving more than the time spent sitting down. How do you do this?
Don’t Use the Car but Walk if Possible
If you do not stay far from your workplace, you can decide to walk rather than sit in the vehicle which increases the overall amount of time you will be inactive. Other things you can consider are cycling to work or taking the staircase rather than the lift. Anything that keeps you moving is beneficial to your metabolic system and overall health.
Sit Less on Your Desk
If your work involves sitting down on a desk for most of the day, you can instead get a higher desk that allows you to stand or walk around. If you cannot do this, make sure you stand up after every hour or so of sitting down and walk around.
During lunch time, instead of having your meal sitting, stand or walk around a park as you eat. In meetings, walk around rather than sit down.
Walking or standing also means that you are exercising. No matter how small the action is, the most important thing is that the metabolic activities are not interfered with, and there is muscle movement. This, in turn, breaks down fats leading to weight loss.
When you think about all the health benefits of sitting less, you have no choice but to stand up and get moving. Also, you can achieve much more when standing than when you are sitting down on your desk.