How your couch could be killing you

Many older adults have retired from their office desks for good. Despite the fact that retirement should be a time for recreation, travel and well-deserved break from work, many seniors find themselves inactive and confined to their chairs and couches, which can have a huge impact on their overall health.

Whether you or a loved one you care for has just retired and is living at home, in an assisted living facility or nursing home — be alert, and do your best to counteract the harmful effects of sitting still.

Working out and staying active is critical to your health at any age, but if you find yourself sitting for long periods of time make sure you are aware of the health risks associated with it, and what you can do instead.

As soon as you sit

The electrical activity in your legs shuts off. Enzymes that breakdown fat in the body slow down by 90 per cent. Calorie burning drops to only 1 per minute. Good cholesterol levels drop up to 20 per cent.

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If you sit frequently

You are twice as likely to develop heart disease, and more at risk for developing certain types of cancer.

What you can do

  • Stand up at least once per hour if you must sit for more than 7 hours at any point in your day
  • Take a brisk walk now and then to break up your day at work or at home
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  • Get outside and see what you can tidy up around your garden — you’ll also get some sun while you’re at it, which never hurts
  • Tidy up your desk or a room in your house to get moving while being productive
  • take the longer route to the bathroom, the kitchen and on your daily walks to the park
  • try walking on a treadmill at your gym or at home, or riding a stationary bicycle while reading
  • Stretch, rotate your hips and do a mini workout in front of the TV while watching your favourite show
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  • Visit family or friend’s house to help out with their kids — you’ll definitely be moving in no time
  • If you prefer dancing over a normal workout routine, try out some Zumba, which can be done in the comfort of your own home
  • Above all — always try to fit in at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day.
  • If you must sit for a while, do it right!

    Forget good ‘posture’, sit back and relax! Sit at 135 degrees with your back leaning back at bit. This is a much healthier position that won’t strain your back over a long period of time.

    Do you think you spend too much time sitting down? How do you avoid spending too much time on the couch at home?