Learning from Lifestyle


Learning from Lifestyle

Staff Writer

Sedentary behaviour might be harmful to your health. Your chances of leading a healthy life are better the less time you spend sitting or lying down each day.

 Even if you routinely exercise, spending a lot of time sitting can be fatal. The phrase "sitting is the new smoking" has recently gained popularity. This is due to growing evidence that long durations of sitting can have a serious detrimental impact on your health.

 The 34 chronic diseases that are frequently linked to inactivity or prolonged sitting are together referred to as "sitting diseases." Due to various physical impacts of age that can make it more difficult to stay active, sitting disease can be a problem for seniors in particular. According to statistics, only one out of every four adults between the ages of 65 and 74 engages in regular exercise. Our life expectancy may be extended by up to two years if we reduced our daily sitting time to under three hours. Similarly, we would gain back an extra 1.4 years if we cut down on the amount of time we spend watching TV to under two hours every day.

How much time do we spend sitting down?

Over three million avoidable deaths worldwide each year (or 6% of all deaths) are attributed to physical inactivity. It is the fourth most common reason for non-communicable disease-related deaths. 

       Additionally, it is the root cause of between 21 and 25% of cases of breast and colon cancer, 27% of cases of diabetes, and roughly 30% of cases of heart disease. In Australia, physical inactivity is second only to cigarette use as a cause of cancer.


The findings of the National Health Survey reveal: 

·         Between the ages of 18 and 64, 24.5% of people met the recommended levels of physical exercise. 

·         Less than one in ten Australian children between the ages of 15 and 17 engage in the daily prescribed 60 minutes of physical activity. 

·         Approximately one-third of kids and teenagers watch little more than two hours of television every day. 

·         49 percent of working individuals between the ages of 18 and 64 said they spent the majority of their workday sitting down.


Children and Youngsters: According to the Australian Health Survey, young children (ages 2-4) spend an average of six hours per day engaging in physical exercise and 1.5 hours per day engaging in screen time. 

        When children and young people were included in the poll, these figures significantly changed (aged 5–17 years). They engage in physical activity for just one and a half hours per day while spending more than two hours in front of screens. 

        As young people aged, they spent less time engaging in physical activity and more time engaging in screen-based activities.

       A computer, television, or video game console was present in at least one bedroom of every kid and young person (aged 2-17) who was surveyed. For children aged 15 to 17, that proportion increased to 75%. 

        The age group of 15 to 17 years had the lowest likelihood of completing 12,000 steps per day, with only 7% doing so. Younger kids (ages 5 to 11) were significantly more likely to walk more throughout the day.


Adults: According to the Australian Health Survey, young adults were the most active group of adults, with 53% of those between the ages of 18 and 24 being considered to be sufficiently active. 

        As people age, they tend to become less active. Age 65 and older group had the lowest level of activity, only engaging in physical activity for about 20 minutes each day. 

       In Australia, only 42% of adults 65 and older met the recommended levels of physical activity.

       The daily average number of steps for adults was 7,400. Less than half of individuals walked 10,000 steps daily.

The likelihood that someone had exercised enough increased if they: 

·         were wealthier

·         classified their health as ‘excellent’

·         were in the underweight or normal range of body mass index, rather than the obese range

·         did not smoke or had given up smoking

·         did not have a job where they sat down a lot, such as clerical or administrative work

·         watched less television and used the internet less than average (13 hours and 9 hours per week, respectively).


Impact of Prolonged Sitting Hours: 

Your body might suffer a great deal from sitting all day. These are some of the physical effects of excessive sitting on your body:

·         The past few decades have seen an increase in the prevalence of obesity and diabetes, and sitting has been believed to be a factor in both of these diseases (according to American Diabetes Association, 2013; Bowman, 2006; World Health Organization, 2000). According to Chau, van der Ploeg, Merom, et al. (2012), sitting time—both at work and at home—and obesity are positively correlated. Similar findings were made by Hu, Li, Colditz, et al. (2003), who stated that for every additional two hours spent sitting at work, there was a 5% rise in obesity and a 7% increase in diabetes. Interestingly, even if a person engages in regular physical activity, there is an association between obesity and sedentary behaviour.

·         Fatty acids might accumulate in the blood arteries because blood flow is reduced. The result could be heart disease. 

·         There is a reduction in your body's capacity to digest fats. Your body produces lipoprotein lipase, which is a crucial enzyme for metabolizing blood fats. Your body's ability to produce lipoprotein lipase decreases by roughly 90% while you're sitting, which makes it more challenging for your body to utilise fat. Fat is retained by your body when it is not used. 

·         Sitting can cause type 2 diabetes and obesity, two risk factors for heart disease, which in turn can cause insulin resistance. 

·         Your bones become weaker when you sit consistently for long periods of time, and your entire skeletal system may be negatively affected, resulting in discomfort, bone spurs, inflammation, and other symptoms. 

·         Your muscles may deteriorate in strength and their capacity to support other body systems if you don't use them.

·         It might influence your brain. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which increases the number of neurons in the brain, is produced as a result of exercise. It also aids in reducing cortisol's negative effects (the stress hormone). So when BDNF levels drop, cortisol levels rise, which causes stress to rise. When you are sedentary, blood flow to the brain slows down as well, reducing the quantity of oxygen your brain receives.



Their research suggests that the more time you spend sitting, the higher your chance of dying young rises. The study's statistics are as follows: 

·         The risk of death was 200 percent higher for study participants who sat for more than 13 hours per day compared to those who sat for less than 11 hours. 

·         A 55 percent decreased risk was experienced by those who moved more and sat for shorter periods of time (less than 30 minutes at a time). 

·         Participants who often sat for more than 90 minutes at a time had a mortality risk that was almost twice that of those who consistently kept their sitting duration to under 90 minutes.


Another study contrasted the majority of the time standing or moving conductors and guards with the majority of the time sitting transit drivers. According to the study, persons who spend a lot of time sitting have a twice as high chance of acquiring heart disease as those who spend a lot of time moving around. 


In the greatest study on the negative effects of prolonged sitting, 800,000 participants participated. When compared to those who sat the least, this study from Loughborough University and the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom, which was conducted in 2011, indicated that persons who sit more frequently have an increase in sickness and death, specifically:

·         Their risk of developing diabetes grew by 112 percent. 

·         Cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks and strokes, increased 147 percent. 

·         Their death rate from cardiovascular causes increased by 90%. 

·         Deaths from any cause increased by 49% there.


lifestyle disorders caused by extended sitting:

Humans are meant to be upright. That improves the efficiency of your circulatory system and heart. Additionally, when you are upright, your bowels work more effectively. Hospital patients who are confined to beds frequently struggle with bowel function. Contrarily, when you engage in physical activity, your general energy levels and endurance increase, and your bones continue to be strong.

          You have a lower risk of dying young if you stand up or walk around throughout the day than if you sit at a desk. Sedentary lifestyles are associated with an increased risk of being overweight, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, depression, and anxiety.


People who sit too much and for too long may experience a variety of health problems: 

·         weak metabolism 

·         postural problems 

·         damage to the back and spine metabolic syndrome 

·         enduring pain 

·         osteoarthritis

·         obesity 

·         diabetes 

·         significantly raises heart disease risk 

·         higher chance of early death 


Legs and glutes (bum muscles): Long durations of sitting can cause the major leg and gluteal muscles to weaken and shrink. These powerful muscles help you stabilise yourself while you walk. You are more prone to suffer injuries from falls and strains while you exercise if these muscles are weak.


Weight: Your body digests the fats and sugars you consume better when you move your muscles. Because digestion is less effective when you sit a lot, you keep those fats and sugars as fat in your body. 

       Even if you exercise but spend a lot of time sitting down, you still run the risk of developing health issues like metabolic syndrome. According to the most recent research, you should engage in 60 to 75 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each day to counteract the risks of prolonged sitting.


Hips and back: Your hips and back will not support you as well if you sit for extended periods of time, same to how your legs and glutes would not. Sitting shortens the muscles in your hip flexors, which can create issues with the hip joints. 

       Long durations of sitting can also hurt your back, especially if you have poor posture all the time or aren't using an ergonomic chair or workstation. Additionally to contributing to poor spine health, bad posture can also result in painful disc compression and early degeneration.


Anxiety and depression: We don’t understand the links between sitting and mental health as well as we do the links between sitting and physical health yet, but we do know that the risk of both anxiety and depression is higher in people that sit more. This might be because people who spend a lot of time sitting are missing the positive effects of physical activity and fitness. If so, getting up and moving may help.


Cancer: Recent research indicates that sitting too much increases your risk of getting several cancers, such as colon, uterine, and lung cancer. 


Heart disease: Heart disease has been connected to prolonged sitting. According to one study, men who watch more than 23 hours of television per week are 64% more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than men who watch only 11 hours per week. 

        According to some specialists, those who are inactive and remain still for extended periods of time have a 147% increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke.


Diabetes: Studies have demonstrated that spending merely five days in bed might enhance your body's insulin resistance (this will cause your blood sugars to increase above what is healthy). According to research, those who spend more time sitting have a 112% higher risk of developing diabetes. 


Varicose veins: Long hours of sitting might cause varicose veins or spider veins (a smaller version of varicose veins). This is due to the fact that sitting causes your legs' blood to pool. 

        Most of the time, varicose veins are not harmful. Rarely, they may result in blood clots, which can be quite problematic.


Deep vein thrombosis: Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) can be brought on by prolonged sitting, as in the case of a protracted flight or road journey. A blood clot that develops in the veins of your leg is called a deep vein thrombosis. 

        DVT is a major issue because, should a piece of a blood clot in a leg vein break off and move, it could cut off blood flow to your lungs and result in a pulmonary embolism. Medical emergencies like this one might result in serious complications or even death. 


Stiff neck and shoulders: Spending a lot of time hunched over a computer keyboard can cause neck and shoulder pain and stiffness.


Precautions to be taken to safeguard from prolonged sitting diseases: 

It's not too late to change your daily activity habits if you're not getting enough exercise, and you'll get several health benefits.


You can include exercise in your day in a variety of ways, including: 

Add more exercise to your daily routine:

·         Leave the car at home and go for a walk or a bike ride. 

·         Walk or ride a bike some of the way for longer journeys. 

·         Instead of using the elevator or escalator, take the steps, or at the very least, ascend it on foot. 

·         Get off the bus at the next stop and continue walking. 

·         Park further away from your destination and continue on foot. 

·         Determine how long it takes you to walk one kilometer; you might discover that you can get where you're going more quickly on foot than by waiting for a bus or other form of transportation.


Be Active: Before beginning any new hobbies, talk to your doctor if you're new to physical activity or if you have a health condition. They can aid you in choosing the activities that are ideal for you. Learn more about starting a physical activity routine by reading. 


Be Active at Work: More than you might imagine, moving about at work is possible. 

·         Take the stairs as opposed to the elevator. 

·         Instead of emailing your coworkers, go over and introduce yourself. 

·         If you can, take a brief stroll outside during your lunch break to get some fresh air. 

·         Organize meetings while walking.


Exercise inside: You could also attempt indoor activities like: 

·         dancing 

·         swimming in an indoor pool, 

·         martial arts, 

·         yoga,

·         pilates 

·         indoor rock climbing 

·         squash.


Reduce your Sedentary habits: Here are some easy suggestions to keep you active when at home: 

·         Put things away in little trips rather than carrying everything at once when you're clearing up. 

·         To remind you to get up and move, set your television's timer to turn off an hour earlier than usual. 

·         While on the phone, move around. 

·         While watching your favorite television shows, get up and iron. 

·         Listen to audiobooks while you walk, clean, or work in the garden rather than sitting down to read. 

·         Get off the bus or train one stop early and walk the remaining distance to your destination.


exercises to reverse ill effects of prolonged sitting:

We need to reduce the amount of time we spend sitting for extended periods of time and boost our energy expenditure throughout the day in order to counteract the negative effects of too much sitting on our bodies. 

Simple exercises that you can do while working that can help counteract the negative effects of prolonged sitting include:


Push-ups: Benefits of push-ups include improved posture, upper body strength, and the activation of the core muscles. 

How to do it:

·         With hands slightly wider than shoulder width,  hold the edge of your desk. 

·         Retract your feet till your body is perpendicular to the ground.

·         Your arms are completely extended and your feet are flat on the ground. 

·         Push yourself back to the beginning position by contracting your core muscles, bending your elbow at a 90-degree angle, and pushing with your body. 

·         Be careful not to arch your back.

Things to keep in mind - Make sure your desk can support your weight. You can perform wall push-ups if not. If you are performing push-ups for the first time while pregnant, wall push-ups will be simpler.


Seated Spine Twist: Benefits include increased spinal mobility, chest, hip, middle, and lower back stretches, and oblique muscle activation. 

How to do - 

·         Your feet should be flat on the floor when you sit upright on your chair. 

·         Put your left hand on your right thigh and your right hand on the backrest of the right side of the seat. 

·         When your left shoulder is parallel to your right thigh and your eyes are on your right shoulder, slowly rotate your body from the torso outward. On the opposite side, repeat.


Seated knee pull ins: 

Benefits: improved posture, a reduction in back pain, and a strengthening of the erector spinae and core muscles. 

How to do it: 

·         Hold the chair's armrest while sitting straight on a chair without putting your back on the backrest. 

·         Straighten both of your legs parallel to the ground while engaging your abs. 

·         Keep your feet together and bend your knees in the same direction. 

·         Try deliberately contracting your abdominal muscles. 

Note: If you have trouble bending both knees toward your body, try bending them one at a time.


Chair Squats: 

Benefits: Chair squats increase hip and knee joint flexibility while strengthening your glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps muscles. 

How to do it: 

·         Take a step back from your chair, space your feet shoulder-width apart, and point your toes slightly outward. 

·         While supporting your body weight on both ankle joints, bend your knees and hips to a chair-like position. Hold the pose for five seconds before resuming your original position slowly. 

Note: Remind yourself not to slouch and to keep your knees from touching your toes.


Heel Raise:

Benefits: improving circulation, especially in those with chronic vein disease, strengthening the Gastrocnemius and Soleus muscles in the calf, and improving ankle stability. 

How to do it: 

·         Stand with your legs apart and your shoulders level while supporting yourself with your chair or desk. 

·         Lift your heel gradually until your toes are flat on the floor. Hold the position for three to five seconds before slowly lowering your heel to the floor.


Sitting requires less energy than standing or moving around. Numerous health issues have been connected by research to prolonged sitting. Obesity is one among them, as is metabolic syndrome, a group of ailments characterized by elevated blood pressure, high blood sugar, extra body fat around the waist, and dangerous cholesterol levels. Overall excessive sitting and lengthy durations of sitting appear to raise the chance of dying from cancer and cardiovascular disease. Thus, the less you sit or lie down during the day, the better are your chances of living a healthy life.


By staying active, you'll have more general energy, endurance, and bone strength. When you have the opportunity, simply stand up instead of sitting. Walk while talking on the phone or watching television. Alternate between a standing and sitting desk. Take a break from sitting every 30 minutes. By taking all these tiny little actions, you will lose weight, have more energy, and enhance your calorie burning.