We face a growing epidemic that we need to take more seriously, called sitting disease.
Let's give the sitting disease a standing ovation and say goodbye.
Our lifestyle today is hectic, but for 10 hours or more every day, we sit in a chair in bad posture. We commute for another 2 hours, on average, sitting again in a car or bus.
People spend 12 hours or more sitting at a desk because of their job.
Greater than 25% of Adult Americans sit for more than 8 hours a day.
The Average American is active for 20 minutes a day.
Sitting for long hours is the 4th leading cause of mortality globally.
Every year 3.2 million people die because of physical inactivity.
According to the Heart Foundation, people who continue to sit for long hours are –
112% at a greater risk of diabetes.
147% likely to get heart diseases like stroke or heart attack.
Sitting for more than 8 hours a day puts our health at risk even if we exercise periodically.
Also, sitting disease puts us at risk of other conditions such as:
Obesity and weight gain
Muscle movement increases energy consumption, and digestion is smoother. As a result, carbs and fat from food converts into energy. However, sitting long hours can lead to metabolic syndrome, according to the Better Health Channel.
The metallic syndrome is a set of conditions that alleviate heart disease risk, diabetes, and other health conditions.
According to the Heart Foundation, sitting for long hours leads to insulin resistance. Which causes type 2 diabetes and obesity, thereby putting you at a higher risk of heart disease.
For instance, the risk of cardiovascular disease increases by 90% because of our sedentary lifestyle. Sitting for long hours slows blood flow and collects fatty acids in blood vessels. It is thereby increasing the risk of heart disease.
Chiefly, studies show, a sedentary life puts people at greater risk of colon, lung, and uterus cancer. While they are yet to establish a reason, they found clear links—the troubling news for women is.
Firstly, Walking or Regular workouts – try to fit in time for a regular walk, jog, or exercise that suits your schedule. More movement is effective against sitting disease.
Secondly, spend more time standing – between breaks while you work, try to stand more often for at least 10 minutes. Experts advise that one gets up from his/her seat at least every hour. You can attend phone calls while walking. Getting up to get a coffee or a glass of water is also a great reason to stand up.
Thirdly, stretch between breaks – along with that, do some stretches to prevent your muscles from getting stiff and add movement.
Here are some chair yoga postures that could give you the necessary stretch:
Posture is essential for combatting the sitting disease. Did you know when sitting 90 degrees upright in a seat, 30% of the pressure falls on your lower back? Sitting for long hours forces your spine out of its natural J shape into an uncomfortable, unnatural C shape. Consequently restricting digestion and increasing pressure on your heart as it struggles to pump blood around your body.
On the other hand, there are some simple posture techniques to combat sitting disease.
Similarly, to help maintain your spine’s curve, you can also use a pillow or prop on your lower back while sitting in a chair. NapEazy, the multi posture pillow, is a perfect lumbar pillow designed ergonomically for spine support. It eases pressure on your lower back, shoulders, and neck, reducing pain and discomfort.
Wedge or Saddle Seat – As recommended by Jeff Bushie from Unbreakyourself, use a saddle or wedge seat. When using a laptop or computer, you should have the screen at eye level. Your elbows should be elevated slightly above your wrists. And the screen should be tilted upward toward you to tuck your chin in and adjust your gaze. A saddle or wedge seat would help you sit up quickly and remain standing for some minutes.
Sitting Disease – Exercises To Combat Sitting Disease
Most importantly, standing while working helps bring back circulation into your legs. When we sit for long hours, our body’s cholesterol level increases because of our sitting posture. There is an enzyme called lipase that removes fat and cholesterol in your blood.
However, inactivity reduces this enzyme’s production by 95%. Leaving you instead vulnerable to fat deposits on your stomach and glutes.
Furthermore, your sitting posture matters; you need to relieve pressure on your neck. While sitting or standing in C posture, we compensate for our curved spine by keeping our head straight. Which puts direct pressure on our neck as we try to overcompensate for incorrect posture. A suggestion to combat this is to avoid leaning on one side or leading with one arm. For example, if you often use your right hand for the trackpad, you tend to rotate your arm or shoulder upward. You leave your shoulder locked in that position and making it difficult for a full rotation.
For example, Jeff Bushie from Unbreakyourself recommends some stretches for your arms between breaks. He suggests you stretch your arms towards your laptop and grip it behind. Then rotate your shoulders with your wrists facing down, and elbows raised to the ceiling.
Sitting Disease – Learn more
To conclude, combatting Sitting Disease involves substantial lifestyle changes. These simple steps will help set you on a path for better health. Write to us with your observations of how these tips affected your life. We are looking for guest bloggers & experts in the field to share their insights with our readers. Contact us, and we’ll feature you on our blog.
We cover other interesting topics on sleep wellness; read more about them here –