TAKE A STAND FOR YOUR BACK
SITTING FOR LONG HOURS CAN HAVE ADVERSE EFFECTS. BE ON YOUR FEET, TAKE FREQUENT BREAKS AND WALK FOR YOUR OWN GOOD.
What do Winston Churchill, Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, Benjamin Franklin and Leonardo da Vinci have in common? Each of them refused to take life sitting down, literally. Such is not the case with the rest of us; 70 per cent of whom will die from simple inactivity. It is ironic that in today’s socalled fast paced life, prolonged sitting is the fourth leading cause of death, but that’s the harsh reality, according to a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
None of us need to ask how. You’re probably reading this sitting down. Many of us work sedentary jobs that involve little physical activity but are mentally draining. And it’s not doing our health any favours. Emerging research shows that sitting for a longer duration of time contributes to a number of health risks such as metabolic syndrome, obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart attack and stroke and overall risk of early death, among others. Those who sit a great deal also have
lower life expectancies, high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels, increased blood sugar, excess body fat and slower metabolisms. According to a WHO report, inactivity is the main culprit behind 27 per cent of diabetes cases, 25 per cent of breast and colon cancers, and 30 per cent of heart disease cases.
PROLONGED SITTING IS ONE OF THE MOST UNDERRATED SERIAL KILLERS
While it is not always the case, studies have found that women more than men need to be careful of this quiet but deadly health hazard. In urban India, women are more likely than men to hold jobs that are less physically challenging. They’re also less likely to be active through other means such as sports. The effects are even more pronounced among women above 60. Every additional hour a day spent sitting doubles the risk of being disabled, regardless of how much moderate exercise you get.
This is a problem that plagues women more than they realise. We often have jobs that require us to sit in places for hours and this is not to be taken lightly. It is important to take our health seriously and become conscious about how much chair time we are logging in each day.
IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO STAND UP
You can burn about 30 per cent more calories standing up than sitting down. Over time, it adds up and can contribute to weight control. Reducing sitting time and standing for an hour can easily help burn approximately 50 extra kilocalories. Simply standing for two hours a day for a year can make you lose over 25,000 calories, which is equivalent to running at least six marathons.
In addition, many of us falsely believe ourselves to be active. For instance, even an hour at the gym every day may not do enough to counteract the detrimental effects of sitting for eight to ten hours. A study in the Archives of
Internal Medicine found that while hitting the gym or taking a walk is important, prolonged sitting might actually be nullifying the effects of the workout. This is one of the biggest reasons why several women continue to struggle with weight, blood sugar, and cholesterol woes despite maintaining consistent workout routines.
It may not seem like it anymore, but our bodies are made to stand. When one sits, the natural curve of the spine is distorted and the back muscles have to do something to hold the back in shape. This puts a lot of pressure on the spine, leading to body pain, herniated discs, nerve problems and painful joints. On the other hand, standing is beneficial both physically and mentally. According to a 2012 World Mental Health Report, it increases the serotonin available to the brain, which helps one think sharper, and less likely to fall prey to depression, a condition that women are prone to.
Studies also point towards the fact that among women the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood sugar shoots up by 26 per cent for every hour per day they spend watching TV. They are also prone to developing colon, breast and endometrial cancers due to inactivity. That said, prolonged sitting is the new smoking. Let’s be mindful of that.
EVERY ADDITIONAL HOUR A DAY SPENT SITTING DOUBLES THE RISK OF BEING DISABLED, REGARDLESS OF HOW MUCH MODERATE EXERCISE YOU GET. THIS IS A PROBLEM THAT PLAGUES WOMEN MORE THAN THEY REALISE. GET CONSCIOUS ABOUT HOW MUCH CHAIR TIME YOU ARE LOGGING IN DAILY.