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.

India Today - - HEALTH - VAN­DANA LUTHRA Founder and Vice-Chair­per­son, VLCC

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.

IM­AGES BAZAAR

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