Is Over-Sitting Ruining Your Health?
If you find your rear-end feeling numb, or if you find your body is growing weary of sitting all day, you need to listen to your body, and start moving around more.
If you are sitting down in your home or office and your back is scrunched over, and your legs are falling asleep, it may be time to change your habits.
New studies are actually showing that over-sitting can gradually start ruining your health.
Think about it: our bodies are biologically designed for movement. Why would we subject them to feeling scrunched over and immobile?
Here are some tips from our experts about why you should get up and get moving, and how you can avoid the habit of over-sitting.
Over-sitting Halts Your Metabolism
“When you sit for longer periods of time, this can halt circulation, which means you end up burning fewer calories throughout the day,” says Christy Shatlock, MS/RD and one of the lead dietitians for BistroMD. “This happens because key fat-burning enzymes that break down triglycerides (a type of fat), essentially just shut off.”
Just sitting one day at your office can make these fat burners drop by 50%! So, how can you avoid this detrimental desk sentence? For starters, moving around and eating the right foods can make a difference.
“It’s no secret that when we sit, we have a stronger desire to snack,” says Christy. “If you are stuck in your chair for the majority of the day, choose high-protein snacks. These will help boost your metabolism, and give you more energy.”
Also, take frequent breaks at the office. Get up at least every half hour and stretch your legs, or go for a walk outside.
After you leave the office for the day, getting at least 30 minutes of cardio each day can help. You can either do this at the gym, or just by taking a jog around your neighborhood.
Over-sitting Scrunches Your Spine
“Sitting too much, at home or at the office, can do major damage to your spine and posture over time,” says Sean Wells, a certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA, and the fitness expert at BistroMD. “When you sit all day, or sit down in front of the TV at home, your hip flexors and hamstrings tighten. The muscles that support your spine can also become weak and stiff.”
Making sure that you get up to stretch, and that you take frequent breaks throughout the day can not only help your spine and posture, but it can also help improve your BMI, as well as your blood fat and blood sugar levels.
Get up, Get Moving and Switch Things Up
Even though most computer desks and computers encourage us to sit down, you can break this mold by switching things up a little.
“When at the office, try to stand up at least every half hour,” says Christy. “If you sit longer than six hours or more each day, take more extended and active breaks.”
You can also do simple things to make sure your body stays more active. Instead of sitting at your desk, stand. You can burn 115 calories versus 83.
Instead of riding the elevator up to your apartment or office, which burns about 128 calories, take the stairs, which can burn up to 509 calories.
So, if you find yourself sitting too often, get up and get moving. It's what mother nature intended.
For more tips from our experts, please visit our healthy facts section for more information.
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