As we sit here in the 21st century, our sedentary lifestyle has shown signs of taking a significant toll on our health, so much so in fact that many believe sitting is the new smoking. Sitting in front of the computer, working for long hours has become a rudimentary part of life. From there you go home, sit on your couch and laze away. More and more of our time is being spent sitting, and it is wreaking havoc on our bodies. Add to that the fact that most of us don’t have healthy eating habits, and you have the perfect recipe for disaster.
The human body was not designed to stay inactive. Inactivity leads to a range of problems that we will discuss today. Research has shown that sitting is the new smoking; it kills more people than many diseases, and certainly more than extreme sports. What’s more? The long-term effects of sitting aren’t reversible. Once the damage is done, it is incredibly hard to undo it. The only option you have is to stop sitting around and move.
Here are some facts you should know that will convince you that sitting is the new smoking:
- Sitting puts pressure on the spinal cord, which in turn affects the ability of your lungs to expand fully and get the proper amount of oxygen it requires. Combining the less oxygen with less blood circulation due to inactivity means that your brain is not getting enough oxygen. In other words, when you sit too much, you’re brain activity reduces and you’ll have trouble concentrating.
- Inactivity and sitting also lead to loss of bone and muscle strength. Both bones and muscles require regular movement to stay in top shape. Muscle wasting and bone loss have been known to progress much faster in people who are inactive.
- Sitting has also been known to increase the risk of some cancers. Research has shown that there is an increased risk of colon and breast cancer if you live an inactive life. Another study goes as far as to say that the mortality rate of cancer patients decreased by 40% in people who were active compared to people who were not.
- Sitting and being less active also increases the risk of contracting high blood pressure. Many studies have shown that active people are at a lesser risk of developing heart disease. And this is after the effects of smoking and diet had been taken into consideration. That says a lot about how sitting is the new smoking.
- Sitting has also been associated with an increased risk of developing diabetes. Studies show that inactivity increases the risk of diabetes by 3.4 percent.
Here are a few tips that can help you overcome your inactive lifestyle and help you on your way towards a healthier self:
- If you don’t have much chance to exercise due to a busy schedule, make opportunities for yourself. Next time you go to work, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Cycle instead of drive. Do what you can.
- Make grip exercises a part of your routine. Grip exercises are great since they can be done easily at work and there are so many variations available that you should be able to find something you enjoy.
- Chew sugarless gum to keep you jaw active. This is perfect for burning excess energy and really is an effective workout for the jaw.
- Interact with people, make new friends, get up and go out. The more you socialize, the more are the chances that you will stop sitting around.
- Kids are at the highest risk of suffering from sitting. Nowadays, kids watch more TV and play more video games than ever before. Play with your children as often as you can, get them moving. Doing this is not only good for them but good for you too.