Sitting all day is killing you!
No, we’re not exaggerating at all! I wish we were. In fact, plenty of experts say ‘sitting is the new smoking’ and if you want to avoid an early grave, you need to quit now! In our waking hours, most of them are spent sitting down.
I mean, I’m sure you’ve experienced it yourself.
You get up after a long day, your butt feels numb and your hip feels so tight you have to lean forward from the waist just to walk. That’s because your hips and legs are tight and your glutes have become inactive. Even after standing up, your muscles might still remain at less than optimal levels, leaving you tired and fatigued.
Over the years, a large number of studies have been conducted to measure the detrimental effects of sitting for too long. They’ve all come to the conclusion that a sedentary lifestyle and elongated periods of sitting down, quite literally shorten your lifespan by several years. It also severely hampers the quality of your years more and more as you grow older.
But What Are You To Do?
Most men today have a job in the technology or services industry, either working on websites or mobile apps or something of the like. As a result, your job probably requires you to spend several hours every day seated down in front of a computer. Unless you’re a primetime athlete or a wildlife photographer, odds are you’ll be at a desk job.
This isn’t how nature intended it to be though. Our bodies were designed to be active, we were made to move around, run, swim, fight, lift things, and be mostly mobile all day. It used to be survival of the fittest. So it’s no wonder that spending a long time seated on your butt isn’t doing your health any favors.
So How Exactly Does Sitting Down Too Much Hurt Your Health?
1. It Might Physically Hurt Your Muscles
Elongated periods of sitting might cause muscles in your hip area to physically shorten, and they will stay shortened even after you stand up. Tight hips and inactive glutes can hamper your physical performance, leaving you less energized to pursue recreational activities outside of work. Hell, you won’t even feel like doing your household chores, let alone going to the gym later on.
Nimble hips don’t just make you feel better, they can also ward off knee pain, and improve your posture because you’re not bending forward anymore. You don’t even need to be an athlete to feel the harmful effects of sitting down too long. Long hours of sitting spares no one. We recommend that for every hour you spend sitting down, you get up, stretch and walk around for at least 10 minutes.
2. It Causes Metabolic And Heart Problems
Metabolic syndrome is a blanket term covering a host of health problems, like high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, diabetes and fat deposit around the waistline and severely hampers your cardiovascular health.
Why does this happen?
It happens because sitting is the ultimate passive activity. You burn more calories sucking on a lollipop than you do sitting down. When you sit down, all your muscular activity flatlines, and your body expends very little energy.
Your metabolism slows down drastically. This leads to a ripple of negative effects.
Your heart rate, calorie burn rate, insulin effectiveness, and levels of good cholesterol all decline. Your body stops producing lipoprotein lipase and other necessary molecules that are only released when you flex your muscles, such as when you are standing and walking. These molecules play an important role in processing fats and sugars. In the absence of them, your metabolism suffers, bringing on this onslaught of diseases.
3. It Kills Your Back
Whenever I go to the gym, I see a massive number of middle-aged guys trying their hardest and leaving no stone unturned to fix their back problems. Indeed, my own dad used to suffer from back problems for a long time as well, a problem that haunts him to this day, well past his retirement. In fact, there’s a whole industry devoted to solving back problems- from massage centers to acupuncture to ayurvedic medicines to back creams and rubs.
You might think that back problems would befall only those who’ve strained their backs after toiling for years on heavy labor. But no, it is far more common among white-collar workers who haven’t used their backs enough. Years of sitting down on a chair, hunching over a desk will inevitably take its toll. There’s no running away from it!
You know it’s unhealthy, and you know you need to stop!
4. It Causes Weight Gain At The Waistline
Like we’ve already said, when you sit down, your heart rate and calorie burn rate goes all the way down. Another fact which doesn’t help is that as the years go by, your metabolism slows down and you gain a small amount of weight every year.
When you sit down, your heart rate is a lot slower, and body fat isn’t broken down properly, which leads to it getting stored around the waist, increasing your waistline and paving the way to obesity. The more weight you gain, the more your cardiovascular health declines making obesity-related heart diseases one of the biggest killers worldwide.
5. You Lose Focus
Standing up can increase your focus in several ways. Firstly, you don’t feel sleepy in the middle of the day where you just want to put your head down on the desk and grab twenty winks.
As you are standing, your muscles stay engaged and you’re likely to more alert, opening up the door to brilliant new ideas and inspiration.Also, if you’re on your feet, you have a channel to release your restless energy. You can move around more, shift from one leg to another, and start pacing around whenever you’d like, basically work out any frustration or agitation you might have been feeling.
6. You Go To Sleep Restlessly
I personally hate going to bed feeling like my body hasn’t done anything all day. I’m still active and I’m basically forcing myself to sleep. If you have had enough physical exertion through the day, your body releases those endorphins and you get that satisfying worked-out body feeling and then you can lay down on your bed and drift of into a peaceful slumber.
Even if you don’t suffer from back or metabolic problems yet, it’s best to start inculcating these healthy practices now itself instead of further down the road.
Like they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!