Sitting Disease is not yet recognized by the medical community as an official disease, but to the people who end up with it, it is all too real a malady. The term ‘Sitting Disease’ refers to the negative physical symptoms such as metabolic syndrome that a predominantly sedentary lifestyle causes.
Sedentary lifestyles affect office workers, students, people with conditions that preclude their ability to exercise, and the elderly.
What are the signs, symptoms, and warning signs of Sitting Disease?
Human bodies are not designed for prolonged sitting, and when we sit for hours and hours at our desks, we cause physical stress to our bodies that even daily exercise cannot help. Recent research has shown that we develop problems with prolonged daily sitting:
- People who sit for prolonged periods of time daily are at a much greater risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and of dying prematurely.
- Prolonged on-the-job sitting has been linked to cancer and high blood pressure.
- When you sit a lot, you are also a candidate for DVT, or deep vein thrombosis, which means blood clots deep in your veins, most often in the legs.
- Sitting a lot can also be very detrimental to your mental state and performance. The reduced blood flow to your brain from a lot of sitting means that your brain is receiving a less than adequate amount of oxygen.
- During prolonged sitting you metabolism slows, and fat clearance also comes to a halt, allowing weight gain and weight retention.
- When we sit a lot, our pelvis rotates backwards, putting pressure on our back’s lumbar discs, and forcing the head to move forward and our shoulders to curve. This results in back pain, shoulder pain, and neck pain.
- Osteoarthritis can also result from prolonged sitting.
Ways to Prevent Sitting Disease
At first glance, you might think that going to the gym at the end of the day is a good way to protect your body from the ravages of Sitting Disease.
Unfortunately, though, studies have shown that people who sit all day and then exercise at the end of the day are also subject to the same physical problems from Sitting Disease as those who do not go to the gym. Here are some ways you can avoid Sitting Disease:
- No matter how engrossed you are in the task at hand, get up every 45 to 60 minutes and do some form of physical exercise that gets your blood pumping.
- When you get a phone call, pace around your office while answering it.
- Stay well-hydrated.
- Get a treadmill desk, a standing desk, or an active chair such as an exercise ball.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
If your feeling about exercise is “Whenever I think of exercise, I lie down and wait for the thought to pass,” here is a suggestion. Get a copy of the song “I Like to Move It” used in the Madagascar movies, and play it several times daily as a motivational affirmation to get up and move often. Let it inspire you to create a healthier workstyle and a healthier you.