Six reasons why you need to sit less and move more.
Sitting while you eat, commute, work, and watch television. If you’re like most people, the majority of your day is spent sitting down. Even if you’re committed to your half-hour workout each day, if you’re sedentary the rest of the day, the health benefits of your workouts are mostly eliminated.
What are the dangers of sitting too much and how can you move more? Keep reading to find out.
1. Leads to Weight Gain
This one goes without saying. The more you sit around, the more weight you’re likely to gain. Sitting requires far less energy than standing or moving. It also slows your metabolism, which means you burn fewer calories while at rest. People who sit most of the day are at a greater risk for obesity, even if they exercise on a daily basis.
2. Harms Your Heart
An active lifestyle keeps your heart muscle strong. Without much movement, your heart weakens and your risk factors for heart disease increase. In fact, if you sit around all day, your risk for heart disease doubles.
3. Affects Your Brain
Exercise increases the amount of oxygen and nutrient-rich blood that reaches the brain. No wonder people who lead sedentary lifestyles are at a greater risk for dementia later in life. This is partly due to the fact that sitting puts you at risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and heart disease, all of which increase your chances of developing dementia.
4. Hurts Your Back
Sitting for a long period of time places stress and pressure on your neck, spine, and back muscles. Sit with poor posture and the pressure is even worse. Over time, damage to your spine and back can develop. If your job requires you to sit all day, use a chair that provides ergonomic support.
5. Puts You at Risk for Diabetes
The reason is unclear, but people who sit all day are more likely to get diabetes. Without much movement in your day, your body begins to react differently to insulin, the hormone that helps you use sugar for energy. When you fail to respond to insulin, sugar builds up in the blood, resulting in high blood sugar.
6. Increases Your Chances of DVT
The longer you sit, the slower your body’s blood moves through your veins, and the more likely a blood clot called deep vein thrombosis (DVT) may form in your body. Usually occurring in your leg, DVT can cause serious health problems and even death if the clot dislodges and moves to your lungs. DVT is one reason why it’s recommended that you get up and move around on long airplane flights.
While regular exercise is extremely important, it doesn’t always make up for an otherwise sedentary lifestyle. Make it your goal to move more throughout the day, not just while you’re at the gym.
Set an alarm every 20 minutes or use an activity monitor app on your mobile device that alerts you of prolonged inactivity. At regular intervals get up and move around. Take a short walk or do jumping jacks, squats, push-ups, or lunges.
Wear a pedometer or use a pedometer app to motivate you to get more steps during the day. Work your way up to 10,000 steps a day. Walk around while you’re talking on your phone and during your lunch break, and then take the dog for a walk in the evening.
Every step counts, so start counting.
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