Health hazards of prolonged sitting
Be it working in an office or watching television, prolonged sitting has become a major part of modern life. However, hours of uninterrupted sitting can wreak havoc on our bodies.
An average adult spends 50 to 70 percent of time sitting, and research has shown that people sitting for a long period of time face a greater risk of dying. According to a report publ ished in the British Journal of Sports Medicine in October 2012, after the age of 25, an hour of watching television while sitting reduces one's expectancy by 21.8 minutes.
The health hazards of uninterrupted sitting are multifold. Chronic sitters are more vulnerable to heart disease, as blood flows more slowly when one's sitting, making it easier for fatty acids to accumulate in blood vessels.
On the other hand, sitting will also disrupt the operation of pancreas, which produces insulin, a hormone that delivers glucose if one remains seated for a long period of time. Cells will develop resistance to insulin and the pancreas in turn will churn out more insulin. In case of insulin resistance, liver will release more glucose into the blood, leading to type two diabetes.
The weight of the upper-body will rest entirely on sitting bones instead of being distributed evenly along the spine when one spends too much time sitting, especially in a bad posture.
Muscles of the abdomen, hip flexors and glutes will be weakened and shrink during the course of uninterrupted sitting. Hip flexor muscles are important to balancing, and many elderly people often fall down because their hip flexors have degenerated.
Another dangerous condition that could be triggered by extended sitting is deep vein thrombosis. A blood clot might form in the veins of legs as blood circulates at a lower rate if people spend too much time sitting. Symptoms include swelling ankles, distention of surface veins and tenderness.
In order to lower the health risks of immobility, health experts advise people to alternate between sitting and standing, sitting on an exercise ball and doing certain yoga poses.
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