Spending hours on end in a chair isn’t just murder on your back—it can literally kill you. And if you’re like the average person, you clock almost 55 hours a week on your rear end. Yes, the weather is cold and you don’t want to go out, but you need to keep moving. Your life depends on it.
I did some reasearch on the effects of being too sedentary and here is what I found:
- Too much sitting makes the lower back, hamstrings (back of thighs) and hips become tight, making it difficult even painful when you do decide to walk.
- Sitting for long periods causes a lack of circulation and a build up of fluid in the legs. When you lie down the fluid travels to the head and neck making it difficult to breathe and can cause sleep apnea.
- Long periods of sitting produces more triglycerides, the type of fat that can raise stroke risk. Our fat burner mechanism is switched off.
- Blood sugar spikes are higher after eating which is a link to type 2 diabetes.
- “Senior moments” of forgetfullness are a result of the deterioration of our brains’ memory center. Being sedentary along with diabetes/obesity can deteriorate the memory center faster. The good news – physical activity can improve your brain’s memory function.
- Too much chair time can make your blood flow sluggish and prone to blood clots which can become lodged in your lungs, making you at risk for a pulmonary embolism. The more you sit, the higher the risk!
You don’t need to become like Jillian Micheals or the Dwayne Johnson “The Rock” to offset the potentially dangerous effects. However, the outdoors is your playground. Go for a walk. I live near Wharton State Forest so there are a number of hiking and biking trail that I enjoy traversing. If you have a gym membership, use it. If you have access to a pool, use it. If your local school or high school has a swim tearm, call to find out if they have family swim times for the community. The pool is a wonderful way to get the body moving and blood circulating. Water walking is extremely popular because of its effectiveness as exercise and as rehab therapy. If your gym offers a water fitness class, take it. You’ll have so much fun.
In addition to your workouts the simple tasks of cooking, gardening, washing dishes, cleaning, standing while on the phone and at the risk of making you blush, SEX. All will help to offset the detrimental effects of too much sitting. So start simple. Get up from the chair and walk around the house, turn on some music and do a little dance. If it’s not too cold out for you, take a short walk around the neighborhood. 10 minutes of movement each hour or at least one hour a day will decrease your risk and improve your health. It’s about total energy expenditure over the course of a day.
If you need help getting started with an exercise routine, you can contact a local personal trainer by asking around or contacting your nearest health club. If you are in the Southern New Jersey area you can also call me. Not only am I certified as a massage therapist, watsu practitioner and Reiki master. I have also been a Water Fitness instructor and in the fitness industry for over 15 years. Feel free to call with your health questions.
I can be reached at 609-965-7229 and am happy to answer your questions.
Thanks for reading !
Audrey S. Filardi