Less sitting, more moving: Why being stationary is bad for your health

Dec 19, 2019
Source: Getty

There’s one simple habit we can all break to dramatically improve our health and wellbeing – sitting too much.

Breaking the sitting habit helps your body and mind in so many ways. Moving around not only strengthens your muscles and bones, it’s also good for your cardiovascular and nervous systems.

In fact, sitting too much can lead to a number of health concerns. These are some of the health concerns that can be caused by sitting too much.

Posture

Sitting for long periods can cause poor posture which leads to many problems including headaches; back, neck and shoulder pain; and sciatica — pain in the back and legs. When your body is in proper alignment everything works better.

Deep vein thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) has also been linked with sitting too much. Inactivity restricts your circulation, increasing the risk of a blood clot. Taking regular breaks from sitting reduces the risk for DVT remarkably. Other risk factors include obesity, dehydration and smoking.

Slows down muscle recovery

If you’re injured, it probably makes sense to stay stationary, but that shouldn’t be the case. Sitting for long periods slows down the healing process.

I once treated a 69-year-old golfer who presented with a knee problem. He was previously advised to give up the game because it required too much walking. However, we discovered he actually could walk four out of the 18 holes, and encouraged him to keep this up. This improved his knee conditioning without pushing through pain. Within six months he was walking the entire course again. Mobility really does help with injury!

Sitting is the new smoking

Yes, you read that right. A recent study undertaken by Cleveland Clinic researchers found a sedentary lifestyle may come at a great cost. The study of 122,007 participants compared inactivity to having a major disease. They found being unfit had a worse prognosis concerning death than being hypertensive, diabetic, or a current smoker.

The good news is fitness can be changed to benefit your longevity and health. The authors reckon cardiorespiratory fitness, like walking, jogging, running, cycling or swimming, may contribute to long-term survival.

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