How Prolonged Sitting can Shorten Your Lifespan?

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(Last Updated On: November 5, 2018)

Too Much Sitting? This is What You Must Know

In today’s competitive world, there is no such day when a working professional is not “busy”, irrespective of his/her work or post. Official work now requires a machine-like efficiency than any other time in history. According to the UNDP Regional Human Development Report, 68% of people in Asia-Pacific belong to the working age, and the rest (32% only) are dependents. China and India comprised 62% of the region’s share in 2015, with the share increasing every year.
Imagine the number of individuals, thus affected due to unhealthy working hours and lifestyles globally and in India! But, with the commercialisation of every industry and urbanisation of cities, many things cannot be reversed or changed in any form. What can really be done, however, is taking care of small things, like one’s eating habits, quitting, or reducing smoking and drinking, indulging in simple exercises like walking, taking care of one’s postures, etc.
While people have increasingly become aware of healthy eating and maintaining body through yoga, the one thing that they are still ignorant of is sitting for long hours at work, which has now become the norm in the corporate sector. But, research on the same recommends the opposite.
Research shows that sitting continuously without any movement for more than 3 hours makes leg muscles inactive and thereby reduces the life expectancy by two years on an average. It leads to weight gain and the person who has spent all his life sitting at one place beyond prescribed hours is at a greater risk of catching diseases like type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart problems, etc. These problems will still exist with people leading a sedentary lifestyle even if they exercise for 30-minutes daily.
prolonged sitting
This is because the negative effects of sedentary lifestyle weigh more than the benefits of the exercise regime. Therefore, it is the right time that people should concentrate on forgoing the sedentary lifestyle. But, wait! It does not mean by any way that you need to quit your desk jobs. Let’s explore some options.

What Should You Do to Make Your Sedentary Lifestyle ‘Active’

Take Frequent 2-minute Breaks

No matter how busy you are, get up from your seat every 3 hours. Walk over to your colleague or just walk till a certain point and resume work after 2 to 5 minutes. A short break will enhance your efficiency at work and also energise you.

Avoid E-mails, Walk While You Are on a Call

E-mailing someone might seem to be an easy option as you are not required to get up from your seat. But, instead of shooting an email, go to the seat of your colleague, and talk directly. This way, you are breaking the sedentary position and doing your work as well.

Take Files or Printed Documents Yourself

Those who are at higher managerial positions often get their simple work done by others and thus, they sit in one place for long hours. Instead, you can get up and take those printouts yourself. It will give your body a much-required break.

Move Your Legs while Sitting

If on some day, you are so busy that you cannot afford to get up or take the slightest break, stretch your legs, and move your feet in a cyclical and anti-cyclical motion. Your life expectancy is affected due to reduced leg movement. So, make it a point to do so even while sitting.

Watch Your Posture

The one thing that can really affect your back and neck is an improper posture. While you are sitting for a continuous 3-hour spell, sit straight, and take a comfortable chair. Do neck exercises now and then while working. A wrong posture can lead to problems of cervical and headache which are difficult to handle.

Reduce Screen Time

It is often seen that people are busy messaging, chatting and following the social media by sitting at one place for long. Television viewing is also one such activity in which people stay seated for a long period. To ensure a longer life span, it is recommended that you take time off frequently from such activities or reduce the screen time.
Today’s fast-paced lifestyle is a cause of chronic ailments, especially heart problems, in India. While the above factors will keep you healthy, it is necessary to go for a health insurance policy which offers coverage in case something goes wrong. As the medical costs are skyrocketing, a suitable mediclaim policy will take care of your hospitalisation expenses and act as a saviour in the case of any medical emergency. Further, you can also choose a suitable health insurance policy according to your eating habits, lifestyle and family history. For instance, if you have a family history of heart ailments, cancer, etc.; you can go for a critical illness cover that will pay you a lump sum amount in case you are diagnosed with a critical ailment like cancer, heart issues, etc.
Your lifestyle defines you and your personality. So, in between all the pending work and deadlines, do some stretching exercises at your workplace to stay fit.
Image : http://nationportal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/sitting.jpg

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Sapana

Software professional - now work at home mom

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