The Trouble with Staying SeatedPosted: January 14, 2016 in Lifestyle by Craig Primack MD FACP
For living in such a fast-paced world, the amount of movement required in an average day is startlingly low. Our cities never sleep and the business world is constantly on the move, but as for the people who make up the backdrop of our internet-driven lifestyle, the days can remain rather still.
When you sign up for a medical weight loss program you are making a commitment to yourself to become healthier and more active. Sure, this means heading out for a 30 minute workout in between other tasks on your to-do list, but it also means making fundamental changes to the way that you spend your day. For many of us, this means, quite simply, standing up.
The Long Hours of Sitting
Think briefly about how many hours out of the day you spend sitting or lying down. For many, the breakdown looks something like this:
- 6 to 8 hours sleeping
- 8 to 10 hours at the desk
- 1 to 2 hours driving the daily commute
- 2 to 4 hours on the computer or watching TV
By these measurements, the average person is spending somewhere between 17 and 24 hours a day sitting down. Even if you are getting off the couch for a 30 minute workout, you are still left with 23.5 hours of stationary living, day after day.
If you want to make healthy changes in your lifestyle, this has got to change.
What Sitting Does to the Body
Many of today’s most common health concerns could be associated with this drastically reduced level of physical activity across the US population. You may think that by staying seated you are reducing your chance of incurring an injury, but in reality, sitting as often as we do is increasing your risk for serious health problems.
Research shows that sitting for 95% of your workday increases your chance of physical injury and chronic illness. After just two hours of sitting down, your body experiences shifts in the level of good cholesterol, insulin, and metabolic rate. As time goes on, stress on your spine, neck and shoulders can cause a build-up of tension and can actually increase your risk of injury and chronic pain.
If you find yourself stuck at a desk all day, try finding ways to get out of the office chair. Swapping out your chair for a yoga ball is a great way to alleviate the burden of sitting all day without decreasing work productivity. You might also want to consider taking regular walks throughout your workday to keep your body in motion. Finally, when you aren’t working, do what you can to get out of your seat and to move around more often. You’d be surprised how such a simple initiative can have a big impact on your overall health and wellness.