Sit Less, Stand More To Reduce Risk Of Obesity & Diabetes
“Sitting is the new smoking.”
This, and similar headlines were trending all across social media, in newspapers and health journals in 2018-2019. And while this headline is widely inaccurate, the ill-effects of sitting for long periods of time, are indeed quite serious.
NHS & WHO Are Advising You To Stand Up
A report released by NHS UK suggests that inactivity is closely linked to poor health. More so, specifically sitting for long periods of time can increase your risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and even lead to early death among some people.
This report was seconded when the World Health Organisation (WHO) cited physical inactivity as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality. In fact, over 15+ studies have credited either low physical activity or sitting for long periods to health conditions like depression, heart disease, certain cancers, accelerated ageing, poor bone density, and even muscle loss.
Why Is Sitting For Long Periods Dangerous?
It is believed that sitting for long periods slows down your metabolism because there is very little use of muscles. When your metabolism slows, your body’s ability to regulate insulin (blood sugar) is also hindered. This leads to accumulation of unhealthy body fat, which is closely linked to certain heart diseases, obesity and type 2 diabetes.
And while this is a simplified explanation, scientists insists that how sitting for long periods of times over the years results in increased risk of mortality, muscle loss and poor bone health is very complex and needs further study.
Reduce Risks Associated With Sitting Too Long
Over the years, fitness devices and smart watches have jumped on the bandwagon and introduced a notification alert that tells you if you’ve been sitting for too long. In fact, there are apps on Play Store and iTunes dedicated to changing this behaviour. You can simply rely on them or be mindful and do the following:
Get up to 150 minutes of exercise every week, preferably distributed evenly over the days.
Whether you are at home, at work, or even out socialising, get up and walk around for 1-2 minutes every 30 minutes; simply standing up in your place won’t be enough.
Introduce walking into your routine while taking calls or during quick discussions at the office.
At home, ensure you don’t spend your free time glued to a screen. Incorporate physical activities like household chores, sports, games, evening walks, dancing, or any other form of exercise into your day. What’s more, encourage this behaviour amongst children in your family from a young age.