Ex­pert ad­vice about taking a stand on sit­ting down

SIT­TING DOWN FOR MOST OF THE DAY IS THE NEW NORM – BUT IT’S NOT GOOD FOR US. WE SPEAK TO THE EX­PERTS ABOUT HOW TO COUNTERACT THE NEG­A­TIVE EF­FECTS

Food - - Contents -

It’s of­fi­cial: sit­ting for too long is bad for your health. While taking time to re­lax is not a bad thing, lives in­creas­ingly lived in front of screens and de­vices, com­bined with Ki­wis’ heavy re­liance on cars, is cre­at­ing con­cerns about the long-term ef­fects of seden­tary life­styles.

And although the likes of the Min­istry of Health’s ‘Sit Less Move More’ ini­tia­tive en­cour­ages us to stand more through­out the day and weave move­ment into our daily lives, it can be eas­ier said than done.

Which is why we have con­sulted the ex­perts to find out if there are any easy ways to com­bat the is­sue.

Move those mus­cles

You might ask how harm­ful the sim­ple act of being reg­u­larly seated is. The main con­cern is that because a chair sup­ports the body, your mus­cles don’t need to do very much when you’re sit­ting down. And because the mus­cles are in­ac­tive, they aren’t us­ing any fuel, so su­gars re­main in the blood­stream longer, which in­creases the risk of type-2 di­a­betes.

We burn fewer kilo­joules sit­ting than stand­ing, and so key fat-burn­ing en­zymes in the body also start to become in­ac­tive, po­ten­tially in­creas­ing the risk of weight gain.

Ac­cord­ing to ex­er­cise phys­i­ol­o­gist Jen­nifer Small­ridge, an­other health risk is aches and pains.

“Blood flow to mus­cles re­duces when you sit for a long pe­riod, and your mus­cles also start to change in length, which in time can cause pain and pos­tural prob­lems,” she ex­plains.

Hap­pily, there are so­lu­tions that don’t in­volve ma­jor life­style changes.

The key is to try to en­gage your mus­cles as of­ten as you can through­out the day, by chang­ing when, where and how you sit. Ex­perts call this ‘ac­tive sit­ting’ and say it’s some­thing we should all be­gin to adopt.

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