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Being sedentary refers to a lifestyle that includes very little physical activity related to the usual activities in everyday living. There are various factors that may put you at risk of leading a sedentary lifestyle, that is why it is vital to learn some reasons why you can be at risk of it. This will also aid in preventing the possible adverse effects of such a lifestyle.
The World Health Organization warns the public about the possible risks of physical inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle. In one of its news releases, it mentioned:
“Sedentary lifestyles increase all causes of mortality, double the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and obesity, and increase the risks of colon cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, lipid disorders, depression and anxiety.”
A lot of people are now complaining of pains, discomfort, and problems with their health and one thing they should look into are the kind of lifestyle they currently have. Are they still keeping a healthy and active living? Or, are they letting themselves to be at risk of the consequences of being sedentary?
Some of us may not even be aware that the way we spend our days can be at risk of a sedentary lifestyle. So, to give some significant information to make you aware of it, the following details will be helpful:
#1 Your nature of work requires prolonged sitting
Are you working as a typist or encoder? Or, maybe you are an administrative assistant in an office working on important matters in the company. Or, since nowadays, a lot of people are working at home, you may be a freelancer or a virtual assistant rendering marketing services to some clients. All these and other similar jobs mostly require long hours of sitting in a day. This is indeed a dangerous work lifestyle and should be avoided. It is actually one of the most common reasons why people are becoming at high risk of a sedentary lifestyle’s dangers.
When you sit for a prolonged period, your body’s functions are being slowed down. There can be poor circulation as well as problems with your muscles. Inactivity also causes a decreased focus and concentration leading to poor performance at work. Other issues that are associated with a sedentary lifestyle involve indigestion, stress, strain, back pain, and several other musculoskeletal problems.
How to solve it:
Work while alternating between sitting and standing. Standing at work has proven to provide various benefits to health. Use standing desks or desk converters to ensure an easy shift from sitting to standing. An ergonomic chair can also help in preventing back pain due to sitting. Your workplace should apply proper ergonomics to make sure you will work comfortably and keep your focus.
This infographic will be a great reference:
#2 Your workstation does not promote proper posture
Imagine the feeling while working without a desk arranged to fit your height while sitting or standing. How about typing with the keyboard too far or with the mouse too close to you? How about staring at your computer screen with the need to stretch your neck just to see what you're working on. A workstation that does not apply proper ergonomics will not promote proper posture. Medical professionals and ergonomic experts stressed how important it is to work with the proper posture. This will not only provide comfort while working but will also help you achieve good overall health. Besides, a working environment that is not organized can contribute to the lack of focus and eventually lead to poor performance at work. It’s important for you to clean your messy workstation so that your time will not be wasted when you’re looking for an important file.
How to solve it:
Make sure to apply proper ergonomics in the workplace. The way your desk, chair, shelves, and office supplies are organized and setup should be in the correct manner. It will be best to consult an ergonomic expert to get professional advice. Certainly, it will be advantageous if you can choose ergonomic products to aid you at your work.
#3 Your lifestyle and routine
The way you stand, sit, sleep, rest, drive or even wait in line can also cause you to have a sedentary lifestyle. You should apply the proper posture whenever you’re doing any activity. Also, avoid a ‘couch potato’ lifestyle. When you make yourself used to sitting for long hours and forget to stand or walk, then you can have a high chance of experiencing the consequences of being sedentary.
How to solve it:
Choose to have an active and healthy lifestyle. Avoid sitting for long periods; make sure to sit and stand alternatively every after 30 minutes or one hour. Walk instead of riding a car when you’re going to nearby areas. Exercise daily and avoid unhealthy foods and drinks.
Yes, especially if not given proper attention and solution. There are various effects of a sedentary lifestyle each of us must be aware of. These include:
- It increases the risk of different types of cancers
- It causes some people to experience weight issues such as obesity
- It contributes to depression and anxiety
- It may cause coronary heart diseases
- It is also associated with increased cholesterol levels and high blood pressure
- It also decreases skeletal muscle mass
- It increases inflammation in the body
- It makes the bones get weaker as they lose mineral content
- It affects the metabolism of the body
- It can lead to cardiovascular diseases
Most of us are required to sit while working in an office or doing some chores at home. But that can lead to various health issues. Below are tips to stay active and free from being sedentary:
- Stand up when talking over the phone
- Use standing desk, treadmill desk, or height-adjustable desks
- Take the stairs more often instead of riding the elevator
- Have your break time outside the office, so you can take a walk
- Choose to have standing meetings
- Keep yourself busy at home by gardening and other physical work
- Try to keep moving while watching TV
- Do some yoga and other light exercises
- Walk with a friend or family members during the weekend