Dr. Sajid Ali Geelani
If you’re reading this, you’re probably doing so while seated in your couch, or at your work desk. Many don’t realize how much time is spent sitting down, especially since most tasks that once required us to be on the move (paying bills, shopping, etc.) have become unnecessary.
Many Health experts have spent quite a bit of time researching the effects of an overly sedentary lifestyle which can lead to a variety of health factors like heart disease, cancer and obesity.
What is sitting disease in today’s sedentary world?
It is defined as a condition of increased sedentary behaviour associated with adverse health effects. Sedentary behavior can be defined by two things: the position you are in, which is generally reclining or sitting, and the amount of energy expenditure that your body is experiencing.
As soon as you sit down, The electrical activity in your muscles drops significantly and your calorie burning rate reduces to 1 calorie per minute and after 3 hours of sitting there is 50% drop in artery dilation and as a result a decrease in blood flow and insulin loses 40% of its ability to uptake glucose, thus increasing the risk of TYPE 2 diabetes.
What happens from weeks after?
After two weeks of sitting for more than 6 hours a day, LDL Cholesterol (bad) is increased along with other fatty molecules putting you greater risk of weight gain and heart disease. The enzyme responsible for breaking down fats decreases and because of prolonged activity, muscles begin to break down.
Think your brain is more important than your body.
Physical movement not only helps pump oxygen and blood to the brain but also sends mood enhancing hormones. When we don’t move, brain function begins to slow down.
Want to avoid sitting disease: Here is how?
We know that it is difficult to be removed from technology and I am not suggesting to leave your job at the office. Instead, I emphasize the importance of awareness in terms of your posture, bodily movement and the amount of sitting per day.
Fortunately, there are three ways to avoid sitting disease, and they don’t require over the counter prescriptions, or some complicated contraption that attaches to your work desk or chair.
Standing, walking and stretching
Standing and walking actually do very well to combat the many health concerns associated with sitting disease. If you alternate between sitting and standing for intervals of 30-minutes, you actually optimize your body for a better metabolic state, which encourages over all health and well being.
Apart from a boosted metabolism, standing also helps to:
• Improve Posture:
• Reduce Osteoporosis
• Reduce Risk for Cardiovascular Disease
• Enhance Brain Power
• Reduce Risk of Early Mortality
Walking actually burns three times as much calories as sitting, so it’s easy to see why it’s a better idea to be on your feet, or on the move–as much as possible.
You can get an advice from your Physician who interns refers you to health experts like specialised physiotherapist, Nutritionist for weight management, diet counselling and exercise prescription.
With the intervention of physiotherapist, you can avoid many work related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSDs) like BACKPAIN, Fibromyalgia, Cervical pain, Arthritis. You will be put under specific pain management protocol along with exercise prescription and Ergonomic advices to make your life easy with improved work efficiency.
A daily, brisk walk and regular exercise has many benefits, and can help you
• Maintain or lose weight
• Prevent or manage many conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, or Type II diabetes
• Improve your mood.
• Helps you to maintain your musculoskeletal strength.
While a sedentary lifestyle encourages serious health concerns, the combination of walking and standing fends off the risk for sitting disease.
Don’t be afraid to take a walk during breaks or lunch.
(The author is in-charge Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation D H Handwara)