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Lockdown: Do more walking than sitting

By Admin

Added 15th April 2020 01:13 PM

It is important that the sitting cycle is broken at 30 minute intervals to reduce the negative effects associated with sitting.

Lockdown: Do more walking than sitting

It is important that the sitting cycle is broken at 30 minute intervals to reduce the negative effects associated with sitting.

By Precious Mlingo

COVID-19 | LOCKDOWN

During this lockdown, many people are inactive at home. A number of them are working on their computers or phones and spend a lot of time seated.
 
Many people's work involves a lot of sitting, which has a long-term negative effect on one's health.
 
"Sitting is more dangerous than smoking. It kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death," Dr James Levine, a professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic, US, says.
 
When you think of something that could threaten your life, you probably do not think about your chair at work or home. The average adult spends one-third of their time at work — that is about half the time they are awake. This is quite detrimental if most of this time is spent sitting.
 
A new study published in Annals of Internal Medicine shows that sitting for more than 30-minute at a go is a risk factor for early death. It is important that the sitting cycle is broken at 30 minute intervals to reduce the negative effects associated with sitting.
 
Exercise is good for your health, but sadly it does not negate the damage done by extended periods of sitting, according to research by Pennington Biomedical Research Centre. So in essence, if you exercise for one hour a day and then spend six hours sitting, you are still at risk.
 
When we sit, our lower body shuts down as there is little muscle activity and poor circulation as blood tends to pool in the lower part of our body. The health effects of this near shutdown are numerous.
 
Prolonged sitting leads to weight gain. Levine embarked on a journey to discover the hazards of sitting and the benefits of standing. For his study, he put office workers who did not exercise on a 1,000-calorie diet. Despite the low calorie diet, some gained weight and others lost weight.
 
He then had the participants wear underwear that was lined with sensors that would tell him how much each worker was moving throughout the day. They discovered the missing link that the group that was losing weight was moving around 2.25 more hours per day than the group that put on weight. So the individuals who were sitting less were losing weight and the ones who sat more were gaining weight. This was despite the calorie restriction and despite the lack of exercise in both groups.
 
As stated by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases in the US, back pain is one of the most common health problems affecting working adults.
 
If you have back or neck pain and you sit for long hours with bad posture, this could be the source of your problem. Long periods of sitting put a lot of pressure on the lower back and result in weaker glutes (muscles in the buttock area). Weak glutes means less stability in the hips and less pushing power with the legs.
 
Poor posture shortens and tightens the hip flexor muscles, which will make one weaker, less flexible and less mobile in the long-run. Several types of cancer are believed to be caused by inactivity. These include cancers of the breast, colon, lung, prostate, endometrium, and ovary.
 
A study done on London bus drivers compared rates of heart disease among bus drivers who sat versus the bus conductors who stood.
 
The research found that the drivers who sat all day experienced far more heart attacks and other health problems than the group that stood.
 
More research shows that men who sit more become worse at metabolising sugars and fats. Their distribution of body fat is also altered and they become fatter around the middle. Such changes are among the first steps on the road to diabetes.
 
The writer is a medical doctor who specialises in wellness
 
 

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