Does your work require you to sit in front of a computer for hours on end? According to experts, this is something that can endanger your health in a variety of ways. Fortunately, involvement in a job that entails being on your tushy from 9 to 5 does not necessarily mean that there is nothing you can do to oppose the ill effects of sitting all day long.
Before we tackle some tips on countering the ramifications of sitting all the time, let us first discuss those scary end results. These are some of them, experts say:
- Heart disease. Prolonged sitting can increase blood pressure and bad cholesterol, which can put you at high risk of having heart disease.
- Diabetes. Being idle keeps the muscles from responding to insulin, so the pancreas tends to produce more of the hormone, something that can increase your diabetes risk.
- Colon cancer. No one knows why sitting all day may cause colon cancer, but experts theorize that it has something to do with increased insulin levels.
- Poor blood circulation in the legs. Being sedentary most of the time can cause problems like ankle swelling, varicose veins and deep vein thrombosis (DVT) which can be very dangerous.
- Spine problems. Sitting for long periods of time can definitely wreak havoc to your spine, leaving your neck strained, your shoulders and upper back sore, and your lower back achy.
- Weight gain. Naturally, being inactive keeps excess calories from being burned. Also, it causes your muscles to degenerate and your metabolism to slow down.
- Increased osteoporosis risk. Leading a sedentary lifestyle is commonly associated with osteoporosis, which is the softening of the bones.
So does this mean that you have to quit your current job in order to steer clear of the above health issues? Not really. There are certain things that you may do, experts say, to counter the impact of prolonged sitting on your health. While in your office, try to do the following:
- Perform certain tasks standing. Something as simple as standing every now and then can help reduce the unfavorable effects of sitting from 9 to 5. Talking on the phone, replying to your boss’ text, waiting for a document to get printed, chatting with an officemate — these and many other tasks can be carried out while you’re on your feet.
- Walk, walk and walk. Ward off the terrifying effects of a sedentary lifestyle by grabbing every opportunity to walk. For instance, you may take the stairs rather than the elevator. You can park your car farthest from the entrance. If you’re taking the bus, deliberately get off at the wrong station. Need to pee or freshen up? Use the bathroom on a different floor.
- Do some lunges. It’s no secret that performing lunges is great for toning the leg and butt muscles. Did you know that doing a set or two while you are at work can also help counter the ill health effects of sitting all the time, such as poor blood circulation in the legs and problems with the lower back?
- Invest in an exercise ball. Once in a while, replace your office chair with an exercise ball. Doing so helps give you the lower body exercise it needs — it helps target your spine as well as the core muscles and those in your legs. If you cannot get your hands on an exercise ball, you may also use a stool from time to time.