Smoking used to be one of the most preventable reasons for early death. That has changed over the years as the medical profession has educated people on the dangers of tobacco.
As times have changed and years have passed, sitting has surpassed smoking in the preventable death category. While it may feel comfortable and relaxing to be sitting down, being in a sedentary state for too long will cost you.
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And it seems like today’s society has more jobs than ever before where people sit. With email and text messaging being some of the most popular forms of communication, it is not even necessary to get out of your chair to talk to your co-worker.
The Dangers of Sitting Too Long
Sitting makes you tired and lethargic. It can also cause body stiffness and back and neck pain. And if you finding a few too many hours on your butt you might want to try these tips for spending less time sitting.
Spending time looking at your cell phone and updating your social media pages are two more culprits that can steal your time and stiffen your back.
Well, you get the idea. Even though there are times you are not going to have much choice but to sit, there are other times you can accomplish the same tasks without sitting.
Take some time to think about the time you spend sitting. How can you spend less time sitting?
1. Causes Tight Muscles
Did you ever stand up after sitting for a prolonged period of time? It can be difficult to walk away due to tight and sore muscles. Stand up desks are all the rage these days and with good reason.
You can stretch your legs and take the pressure off your back by standing while you work at your desk.
These desks are very easy to use and they get you changing positions and stretching your muscles. Your body was not meant to stay at rest. So, get it moving!
2. Causes a Sluggish Mind
I never feel as alert after sitting for more than 45 minutes. It is easy to talk myself into a nap when I should be doing other things.
Put a self-imposed limit on how long you sit at one time. You know how some people set alarms to remind them to drink water every hour or just to take a five-minute break from whatever you are working on.
Well, that is something you can do to keep from sitting long in one “sitting”. Make it a point to get up every hour and move around for five to ten minutes.
Not only will it help your body physically, but it will also clear your mind as well.
3. Back Pain
There is nothing worse for your back than sitting too long. Road trips are another cause of back pain and muscle soreness.
It may be tempting to get behind the wheel and put the pedal to the metal until you reach your destination. But it is important to take breaks at a minimum of every two hours.
Get out and stretch as much as you can. Walk for a few minutes and get a drink of water. There is nothing more enjoyable than taking a trip and experiencing things that are new and interesting, but you want to do it pain-free.
If you travel a lot in the car, you may want to consider having heated seats installed to keep your muscles from tightening up.
4. Interferes With Brain and Heart Function
An active body just functions better. Everything from your heart to your brain works better in a body that is in motion.
Sitting slows the optimal function of your body. While we all need rest sometimes, it is important to move regularly to keep your body functioning at its peak level.
5. Promotes Poor Circulation
Circulation is improved by movement and that means you have to stand up. DVT is a condition that can be worsened by sitting. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a clot that forms in your leg, often because you sit still for too long.
It can be serious if the clot breaks free and lodges in your lungs. You might notice swelling and pain, but some people have no symptoms. That’s why it’s a good idea to break up long sitting sessions.
When it comes to making healthy changes, how many benefits do you need to know it is the right thing to do?
Getting off the couch or out of the office chair is one of these things you just know makes sense. So, what can you do to sit less?
Here are 3 simple things that you can do to spend less time in a sitting position:
Use the Pomodoro method
The Pomodoro method is great for helping you sit less. Simply put this is a productivity method where you work for 25 minutes and then break for 5 minutes. After 4 hours, you take a 15-20 minute break.
Use these breaks to get out of your chair (or off the couch). Stretch, walk or exercise. If you are near a window, look outside. If you can go outdoors, do that. The fresh air will do you good.
Plan Active Time
If you are forced to sit all day, plan non-sitting time into your weekend. Go to the park, work in your yard, clean your house…you get the idea.
Not only will doing these things get you out from behind a screen, but they can also be great stress relievers.
Get a Stand-up Desk for Your Office
If you spend a lot of time sitting at a desk, consider buying a stand-up desk. A stand-up desk is a great addition to any office making it easy to go from sitting standing while continuing to work.
Many of us cannot help that we have desk jobs, but that does not mean that you have to sit for hours on end.
There is a lot to be said for sitting less. You feel better mentally, physically and emotionally. If you are in a situation where you have to spend a lot of time sitting each day, change the outcome.
Plan time to stand or move around. Just get up and move. If you are a TV watcher or web surfer, make sure to move once in a while. Your body will thank you, especially years down the road.
Challenge yourself over the next 30 days to create a habit that promotes less sitting and more movement. If you do it sitting, maybe you can do it while walking or standing.