Alarm goes off. Maybe you hit the snooze button. Eventually a majority of us wake up, get ready for work, and head into the office. With a few deviations here or there, the rest of the day is probably pretty predictable: You sit down at your desk, open up your email, and begin to work. Wash, rinse, repeat. Day after day, we sit down at our desks for extended periods of time. Does this routine sound familiar? Then sound another alarm because it's cause for concern.
Nine-to-fivers beware! Extended periods of sitting, typical of the average desk job, have long been linked with harmful health outcomes, but sitting has now been linked with a higher risk of developing kidney disease, according to new research.
Even if you don't have a desk job, it doesn't mean you're off the hook. It's not only at work where we sit. Typically people sit much more than they even realize -- on the couch while watching TV or reading, while eating meals, while getting to and from work (whether driving or riding a bus or train) -- to name just a few examples.
Unfortunately, increased sitting time is linked with poorer health outcomes despite the amount of physical activity you engage in. That's not to say that being active doesn't matter. It just means that even in those who are active, the health risk of increased sitting is important and shouldn't be ignored. An otherwise active person who sits for a large portion of his or her day is at higher risk for developing kidney disease than an active person who does not sit for most of his or her day.
Why sitting all the time is bad?
Studies have linked excessive sitting with being overweight and obese, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, and premature death. Prolonged sitting is thought to slow the metabolism, which affects the body's ability to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and break down body fat.
According to David Dunstan with the Baker IDI Heart & Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia, the lack of muscle contraction caused by sitting decreases blood flow through your body, thereby reducing the efficiency of biological processes.
Now that we know how bad and detrimental it is, to be sitting all day, it's obvious we need to get off our seats and start moving. Not just hitting the gym, but something as simple as standing can help.
Instead of standing as a break from sitting, you can sit when you need a break from standing. Eventually your body will adjust and it will feel more natural to stand throughout the day. During presentations and meetings, at the bar during happy hour, while performing chores around the house, and even while playing video games. The possibilities are endless. Whenever there is an opportunity, do your body and long-term health a big favor and stand up.
When you are at work, another thing to do is, walk to the water cooler, with the added bonus of staying hydrated.
Instead of riding the elevator, step it up a notch and take the stairs. Instead of riding the escalator, walk up it if there are no stairs available. Whether running errands around town, headed to a meeting or just moving around the house, incorporate more steps into your day.
Make use of every opportunity you get to move your body. To know about the exercises you could include into your routine, contact your physiotherapist.