Modern society has effectively engineered prolonged sitting and other sedentary behaviors into our lives. But, did you know that excessive sitting can have a profound effect on your health? In this article, we are going to take a look at how excessive sitting affects your health and what you can do to break out of a sedentary lifestyle.
While it might not have crossed your mind, the average office worker can spend up to 15 hours of their day sitting down. On the other hand, an agricultural worker typically spends less than four hours a day seated.
Sitting significantly lowers the number of calories you burn
Most people don’t realize that everyday non-exercise activities like walking, standing, and even something as small as fidgeting help you burn calories. The energy expended from such activities is referred to as non-exercise activity thermogenesis, or simply NEAT. The lack of non-exercise activities can significantly increase one’s risk of obesity.
Prolonged sitting, lying down, and other sedentary activities, use up very little of your energy, and as a result, they restrict the number of calories you burn through NEAT.
Consider this; multiple studies have found that agricultural workers can burn nearly 1,000 more calories per day than the average office worker. This is mainly attributed to the fact that agricultural workers spend most of their day standing or walking around. This difference should really get you thinking.
Sitting is a key risk factor for weight gain
The health experts from Active Back Care claim, “It goes without saying that the more calories you burn, the less your likelihood to gain weight. Given that sedentary behavior significantly limits your ability to burn calories, it is closely associated with obesity.”
Research indicates that, on average, obese people sit for an average of two hours longer per day than people of normal weight.
Sedentary behavior is linked to disease
Sedentary behavior has been found to be a major cause of chronic diseases and conditions. Physical inactivity increases your risk of type 2 diabetes by 122% and heart disease by 147%.
Research has found that sedentary behavior directly affects insulin resistance. This can manifest in as little as a day.
It is time to get rid of the habit
Existing data indicates the prevalence of sedentary behaviors among individuals living in western countries. Sydney wedding celebrant Johan says, “While relaxing has its own set of benefits, you ought to reduce the amount of time spent sitting on your workday.”
Physical activity is no less important than a healthy diet or regular exercise.
With all that being said, how exactly does one combat a sedentary lifestyle?
The Australian Physical Activity Guidelines suggests engaging in 150-300 minutes of physical activity every week. In this regard, you can always begin with incidental physical exercise ( exercise that you aren’t aware you are doing).
Ways to Sneak More Exercise Into Your Day
1. Consider parking your car further away
Most of us have developed a habit of driving our cars everywhere we go. Upholstery expert Peter has advice for fellow office workers, “Even though using your car can seem inevitable most of the time, parking further away and walking the remaining distance always offers a great way to get some more exercise into your day.” In case you use public transport, you can choose to alight before getting to your destination and walk the extra distance.
2. Engage in quick workouts during lunch
If you work in an office, the better part of your workday is spent working at a desk or computer. You can mix things up and get in some exercise by doing a quick workout during your lunch break. This can be in the form of a power walk to get your lunch, a quick visit to the gym, or a core workout. Either way, some time spent away from your desk and not confined to your chair will be very much invigorating.
3. Socialise actively
Consider enrolling in a dance class with family and friends, going on rock climbing trips, or trampolining with the kids. Not only is this a fun way to spend time with your loved ones, but it also offers a great opportunity to get in some physical exercise.
4. Visit the local park
A walk to the park can be used as a way to catch up with friends and family or think things over in case you need some personal time. If you have kids, you can take them to the neighborhood playground and get actively involved in their favorite games. You can also take your dog for a walk to the local park.
5. Get active during ad breaks
For most of us, our free time is spent slumped on the sofa watching our favorite shows, documentaries or the news. However, you can mix things up by doing some core exercises, star jumps or burpees, squats, or a quick walk up and down the house in between the ads.