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Sitting Disease: The Side Effects Of Sitting For Too Long

With the world around us shut down, each shop at a time, the government around the world have requested people to stay indoors to avoid the coronavirus infection. Schools have become virtual and offices are carrying out meetings and presentations from home. At a time like this, it becomes important to take care of your health.

Majority of the offices are facilitating the option of work from home for its employees and there comes the ease of certain time flexibilities and perks, and along with it, some negative outcomes too. That is, unlike usual mornings where you wake up, take a shower, dress up and leave for office, your routine ends with having your breakfast and directly going to your office desk set up at home, preferably in your room.

You do not engage in extra physical activities like walking up the stairs or walking the distance to the office, resulting in your body being sediment throughout the days and even weeks. Chances are high that you could easily transform into a couch potato.

This article will explore the side effects of constant sitting or sitting disease and the way it impacts your body.


Sitting For Too Long Does You No Good

The sitting disease, also called a sedentary lifestyle, is a term used to describe individuals whom engage in prolonged periods of sitting or overall inactivity.

We all like to spend too much time sitting in front of a television or a computer; either at home or work. The longer the periods that we spend by being a couch potato, the more detrimental it is to our health.

The health risks of being a couch potato double up when there is less exercise in the body, while we are sitting for a longer period of time, and the consequences are alarming. The preadipocyte cells, which are fat cell precursors, turn into fat cells more quickly and create even more fat when you lie down or sit down [1].

According to a study conducted by the American Cancer Society, if you sit for six hours a day or more, your risk of dying early increases by 19 per cent, compared to those who sit fewer than three hours [2]. Another research analysis found a connection between sitting and the higher danger of coronary disease-associated deaths. The study said that the more a person sat, the more his odds were of dying in 12 years from heart issues [3].


1. Slow Downs Calorie Burning

While sitting, the calorie-burning rate drops to 1 calorie per minute, which means that if you sit for an hour, you have burned 60 calories less than standing. When you are standing, you can burn 300 more calories each day. Burning of fewer calories makes you more likely to gain weight [4].


2. Boosts Weight Gain

You gain weight faster, as your cells become fattier. The body increases in LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), insulin resistance and plasma triglycerides, which means your body begins to produce more insulin because your body no longer accepts your insulin that stresses the pancreas and liver [5][6].


3. Causes Weaker Bones

The bones may get weaker and lose some mineral content due to sitting. Anything that can get you going on your feet and moving has been proven to be beneficial for the bones. If you do not get enough physical exercise, the higher are the chances of brittle bones [7].


4. Weakens Immune System

If you are a couch potato, your immune system may not work as well. If you do not get enough exercise, your immune system may get weaker and stop functioning properly [8]. Exercise boosts the immune system by strengthening the cells in the body that prevents bacteria and viruses from attacking the body [9].


5. Disturbs Blood Circulation

When you are sitting for long hours without moving, then the body is incapable of efficiently carrying the blood to your feet, which leads to blockage in the arteries. You might feel numbness or painful cramping in your legs, which can also lead to blood clots [10].


6. Causes Back Pain

The health risks of sitting for long hours can be a major cause of back pain. Prolonged sitting can even alter the firmness of the lumbar spine and add to the risk of a low back injury [11].


7. Causes Stiff Spine

When there is no spine movement it can become vulnerable to damage. Remember when we do some activity, soft disks between the vertebrae develop and contract which eventually tries to absorb blood and nutrients [12]. When we tend to sit for long hours the disks are compressed unevenly.


8. Causes Leg Pain

Extensive sitting will slow the blood circulation. This can be the reason for fluids to pool in the legs. And some of the health problems range from swollen ankle to varicose veins [13].


9. May Cause Memory Loss

Couch potatoes can have a drastic effect on their memory and attention span. People who have been sitting or lying for a longer period of time have been reported to become increasingly disoriented and lacking in concentration. People can forget instructions and minute facts and are often found procrastinating a lot [14].


10. May Cause Heart Disease

Couch potatoes have an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes when they spend hours watching television. People are 80 per cent more likely to die of heart and artery diseases. Sitting at an office desk or in front of a computer, posed similar risks, leading to an unhealthy influence on their blood sugar and blood fats [15].


Ways To Fight The Sitting Disease

As it is inevitable that you stay indoor, getting out for a run or a quick stop at the gym is out of the question. However, you can do these following in the quarantine times to avoid the aforementioned risks.


Stretch, Turn And Bend

Everyday aim for 10 minutes by stretching, turning and bending yourself. Getting your body moving more often will help in stretching out your entire body and prevent muscles cramping. Performing this activity five or six times a day will help fight the sitting disease.


Standing Exercise

Standing for a few minutes will help in loosening your muscles and burns more calories than sitting. You can stand and stretch your arms and fingers in between your work. This will lower the risk of heart disease, chronic back pain, and other metabolic diseases.


Shoulder-toning Exercises

You can do a quick shoulder-toning exercise at your desk. Sit up straight with your back against the chair and your feet flat on the floor. Raise your arms over your head with your palms flat and elbows facing the sides. Inhale and press up and hold for 30 seconds, slowly bring your hands down and breathe normally. This exercise will strengthen your shoulder muscles.


Have A Lunchtime Workout

Now, what's a lunchtime workout you might be wondering? After lunch, you can go for a walk up and down the stairs or take a walk in the garden, if it is advisable to go out.


Walk And Talk

While talking to your teammates through the phone, skin sitting at the table, and walk around the room.


On A Final Note…

Is sitting bad for you? NEVER. But sitting for long hours can lead to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease, lung disease, liver disease, nervous disorders and musculoskeletal disorders.

Other health conditions such as obesity, increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol can also happen. Because when you sit, your body uses less energy than you do when you stand or move and this gives rise to a number of health concerns.

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