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Sitting Too Long Is Not Good For Your Health

Sitting Too Long Is Not Good For Your Health

A sedentary lifestyle without proper physical exercise can lead to various complications in the long run.

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Did you know that the human body is built to stand upright and move? Apart from your bowel system, your heart and cardiovascular system work effectively when you’re upright.

Hence, it’s a no-brainer that sitting on your bum for way too long at work will affect you negatively in the future. Extended sitting here means that you’ve been sitting on your chair or bed for several hours a day without moving every few hours.

When you sit, you use less energy compared to when you stand or move.

Research has linked a lot of health concerns to a sedentary lifestyle. Some of them include these:

(Credit: Public Health Malaysia)

Cancer

Well, of course, you won’t directly have cancer ASAP after sitting for far too long but, the risk for it, in the long run, is there.

Emerging studies have found that sitting too long can increase your chances of developing some types of cancer.

According to Karen Basen-Engquist, PhD, professor in the Department of Behavioral Science at MD Anderson, extended sitting raises your risk of colorectal, ovarian and endometrial cancers.

Anxiety

According to a study, the risk of both anxiety and depression is higher in people who sit more compared to those who don’t.

This could be due to the fact that people who sit more miss out on the positive effects of physical activity and fitness.

This is particularly true for those who have too much screen time alone. It can lead to social withdrawal which in turn makes you have social anxiety.

It may also disturb your sleep, which will hence, increase your anxiety symptoms.

Dementia

Research finds that those over 60 who sit for long periods watching TV or engaging in other passive, sedentary behaviours may be at increased risk of developing dementia.

(Credit: Freepik)

Uninterrupted sitting for long periods of time is linked to reduced blood flow in the brain which in turn increases the risk of neurodegenerative diseases.

Obesity

When you sit for far too long, your body’s ability to process fats is decreased.

To break it down to you, lipoprotein lipase is an important enzyme that your body produces to break down fat in your blood.

When you sit, your body’s production of lipoprotein lipase drops by about 90 percent, which makes it very difficult for your body to use fat. When your body doesn’t use fat, it gets stored.

Diabetes

Sitting can lead to insulin resistance, which can cause type 2 diabetes.

Studies show that even five days of lying in bed can lead to increased insulin resistance which will cause your blood sugars to increase above the healthy level.

Heart Disease

Sitting for 6 to 8 hours daily was associated with a 13% higher risk of heart disease.

When you spend too much time sitting, the blood flow slows down, which allows fatty acids to build up in the blood vessels. This can lead to heart disease.

Penyakit Jantung Kardiovaskular

As mentioned before, a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of diabetes as well as obesity, which are two risk factors for heart disease.

Brittle Bones

When you sit regularly for extended periods of time, your bones get weaker and your entire skeletal system can experience negative effects, including pain, bone spurs, inflammation, and other symptoms.

In older adults, the natural ageing process, increased sedentary hours and decreased weight-bearing activity can all contribute to accelerated bone loss and weakness.

Blood Clots

Sitting too long such as binge-watching or travelling in a vehicle can cause deep vein thrombosis (DVT) which is a blood clot that forms in the veins of your legs or arms.

The blood clot can travel up to your lungs and cause a pulmonary embolism, which can be serious or even fatal.

Early death

Sedentary behaviour can also increase your risk of dying, either from heart disease or other medical problems.

In a study that tracked more than 100,000 adults from 21 countries for more than 10 years, more time spent sitting during the day was tied to a higher risk of early death and heart disease.

(Credit: Freepik)

Combine prolonged sitting and physical inactivity, the effects could be as harmful as smoking!

Tips to reduce prolonged sitting

However, some research also found that if you do strenuous exercise for 60 to 75 minutes per day, you can combat the dangers of excessive sitting.

To prevent health complications from sitting for too long, here are some tips recommended by Public Health Malaysia.

  • Sit at a 135-degree position to reduce pressure on the back of the body
  • Have movements every 30 minutes
  • Stand up and walk around while the TV is playing commercials
  • Do light exercises while watching the screen such as shaking your legs
  • Limit sitting time and do light exercise regularly
  • Take the stairs instead of an escalator or lift (depending on fitness level)
  • Drink plenty of water

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