Jawwad has a desk job. He’s got a managerial position at his company and is definitely going places. He takes an hour to commute to work each way, sits for six hours in front of a computer, attends some meetings (also sitting down), feeds his face at his desk and invests an additional four hours watching television before catching some shut-eye. That’s a whopping 12 hours of sitting in just one day, an average duration most people spend relaxing their fannies.
Many medical experts argue that Jawwad could catch Type II Diabetes. You heard that right. Diabetes. And colon cancer.
Countless studies have correlated sitting with many deadly diseases. Dr. James Levine, Director at the Mayo Clinic at Arizona State University coined the popular phrase, “Sitting is the new smoking.” Dr. James claims that sitting actually kills more people than HIV. Take a cursory look at the lifestyle people follow in your immediate vicinity and you’ll see he probably isn’t exaggerating.
Tell-tale signs have started appearing around Jawwad indicating that he’s been too much of a couch potato; his slouched back, depressed mood, headaches, shoulder pains and feelings of fatigue all reflect delightfully on his wrinkled face. He appears more depressed to his co-workers, who aren’t much better off, and has a more morbid outlook on life. All because of too much sitting.
A teenager died at an internet café in Taiwan when he played Diablo 3 for 40 hours in a row without any rest. That probably means something was messed up with him in some way, but his behavior is simply a magnified version of millions of other such gamers and young people who actively pump 12 hours a day playing video games.
A study that compared adults who spend more than 4 hours in front of the TV to adults who spent less that 2 hours reported that those who spent more time watching TV had a 50% increased risk of death from deadly diseases, and 125% increased risk associated with cardiovascular disease.
What happens to your body when you sit?
Sitting for long periods can slow blood flow causing blood clots to form. This is also known as deep vein thrombosis which can cause fatalities if they were to reach the lungs and cause blockages. Muscles in the leg will also become weaker and tighter after long periods of disuse since the body no longer needs those muscle fibers. The body experiences lower metabolism since it because it stores more fat and burns fewer calories. The U.S National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) showed that uninterrupted sitting is associated with cardiometabolic risks, which translates to heart attacks and strokes. A spike in glucose and insulin levels, especially after a meal, is also experienced leading to an increased risk of contracting Type II Diabetes.
The physiological and psychological implications of prolonged sitting are too many to enumerate and while we’re not suggesting Jawwad stand awkwardly at his cubicle all day while furiously pattering at his keyboard, there are a few precautions he can take in order to safeguard against the potent effects of sitting for too long.
Brisk Walk for a few minutes
Scientists have found that it takes around 60 minutes of moderate exercise to reverse the damage caused by prolonged sitting. So whenever Jawwad gets a break, he should use that time to walk around the premises instead of becoming even more intimate with the screen.
Stretching the Body
A 5-minute stretching routine allows blood to start flowing again to blocked parts of the body. One of the reasons why concentration dwindles is lack of blood flow to the brain since you are essentially crushing your arteries underneath your own body’s weight. Get up and stretch when you can.
Find Any Excuse to Stand
Stand up when you can. Wiggle your toes and straighten your back. And here’s a novel idea – try chatting and getting social with co-workers while you stand.
Invest in a Standing Desk
You could present a convincing report to your boss indicating the ills associated with prolonged sitting to invest in a standing desk. Anything is possible.
The Last Resort
And if you simply cannot keep yourself from staying glued to the chair, at least sit ‘right’. Position your spine perpendicular to the floor, sit up straight and don’t slouch.
If you want to see a more exaggerated effect of what can happen to you if you lay around too often, watch the movie ‘Wall-E’. It will help you visualize what happens to the denizens who encounter severe bone and muscle loss along with profound fat gain.
It doesn’t take much to fix this before it becomes a chronic condition. Take control of it sooner rather than later!