Sit­ting could be just as bad as smok­ing

Isis Town and Country - - News - By LEANNE SHORTER

IS SIT­TING the new smok­ing?

Lately there has been a lot of talk about how sit­ting down all the time is so bad for us.

Some doc­tors are say­ing that sit­ting down for long pe­ri­ods can be as bad for our health as smok­ing.

There are changes that take place in your body as soon as you sit down.

Elec­tri­cal ac­tiv­ity in your leg mus­cles shut off. Your body burns hardly any calo­ries and the en­zymes that help break down fat drop by up to 90%.

Af­ter two hours your good choles­terol drops by 20% and af­ter long pe­ri­ods of sit­ting your in­sulin ef­fec­tive­ness drops and your risk of di­a­betes in­creases.

It has also been found that peo­ple with sit­ting jobs have twice the rate of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease as peo­ple with stand­ing jobs.

On top of th­ese neg­a­tive fac­tors when we sit down all the time our mus­cles are in un­nat­u­ral po­si­tions and we end up short­en­ing the mus­cles through our pos­te­rior chain – which leads to sore backs and in­flex­i­bil­ity.

In the short term this can make it hard to do ev­ery­day tasks like get­ting in and out of bed, lift­ing and car­ry­ing things and in the long term can be a ma­jor cause for older adults hav­ing falls.

Sit­ting and short­en­ing your pos­te­rior chain mus­cles can also lead to mus­cle in­juries when ex­er­cis­ing or play­ing sport.

Your mus­cles be­come so tight and in­flex­i­ble and then you go run­ning on to the sports field and tear a ham­string.

And it’s not just sit­ting down at work.

When we get home we are sit­ting down watch­ing TV, on our phones, com­put­ers or tablets. We of­ten sit for long times when we com­mute to work and then when we get a break we sit down to eat our lunch.

There are some easy steps we can take to help com­bat the neg­a­tive ef­fects of sit­ting.

Make sure your feet are point­ing straight ahead and you don’t lock your knees straight. Pull your belly but­ton in a lit­tle bit to ac­ti­vate your core mus­cles. Make sure your feet are flat on the floor.

When you are at work, you need to be stand­ing up for at least 10 min­utes ev­ery hour. Try to stand up when you are on the phone.

You can now buy desks that vary in height so you can stand up while you work.

Af­ter you com­mute to work or drive for a pe­riod of time, when you get out of the ve­hi­cle squeeze your bot­tom cheeks to­gether. This will help re­align your pelvic mus­cles.

Do­ing ex­er­cises and stretches that tar­get th­ese mus­cles like yoga or work­ing out with a Re­sist It band will help as well.

Leanne Shorter is a reg­is­tered per­sonal trainer with Fit­ness Australia. You can con­tact her with any com­ments at her web­site at www.re­sis­tit­bands.com.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

STRAIGHTEN UP: Leanne Shorter will re­turn in mid-March.

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