How to prevent the ‘Sitting Disease’

Author: Isha Kharub

Published Date: Apr 5, 2020

Most of us are unsure of what a sitting disease is. Yet, most of us seem to have it. It’s not only more dangerous than smoking but is also killing more people than HIV (Dr. James Levine, Mayo Clinic).

Due to technological advancements, everything is available at our fingertips and the need for movement has reduced drastically. On average, we sit around 8 hours a day or more- we sit to eat, sit to commute, sit in our offices, sit on our beds, sit to socialize, sit to shop, sit to watch TV or to play games. That’s clearly sitting too much even if we are exercising 30 minutes a day.

What is Sitting Disease?

Sitting Disease is a scientific term coined to reflect the damaging effects of an overly sedentary lifestyle. In simple words, we are sitting ourselves to death! We were born to move and doing the opposite of that is leading to serious health consequences.

According to research conducted by the University of Queensland and Victoria University, sitting for prolonged periods can lead to:

  • depression,
  • increased risk of cancer,
  • cardiovascular diseases, and
  • type 2 diabetes

How can you prevent the Sitting Disease?

The answer- Take a stand and start moving!

However, it’s easier said than done. Due to the demands of our fast-paced lives, no matter how hard we try, we end up sitting for most of our days. Today, less than 20 % of the population is engaged in physical activity as a part of their job as compared to about 50% in 1960.

Here are some of the things you can do to prevent the Sitting Disease:

  1.  Standing Desks: Getting the right office furniture is the key to developing good working habits. A standing desk can help you combat sitting disease without breaking your focus.  Standing desk positively affects your mood, helps you burn calories and improves concentration.
  2.  Take breaks after every 30 minutes: If you are someone who spends most of your time engrossed in looking at a screen, unaware of what time of the day it is, then set an alarm. This is the easiest way to remind yourself to get up and take a walk. It’s not only good for your physical health but also your mental health. A brisk walk can refresh you, clear your mind, and improve your mood.
  3.  Biking or walking to work: Biking or walking to work is another helpful way to getting some physical exercise as opposed to sitting on your commute. For those employees who don’t live closer to work, they can park a bit further away and walk or bike the rest of the way. It is one of the most effective ways of negating the consequences of too much sitting and getting some exercise in your daily routine.
  4.  Exercise at work: Take a break from work and get some exercise. You could go for a small run during your lunch break or do simple exercises in the office like squats, stretching, skipping or lunges. Another beneficial technique is muscle clenching where you tighten and hold your muscles for 10-15 seconds before releasing and repeating. You could also opt for treadmill desks in the office. According to a study, employees who used a treadmill desk in the office were more productive, had an increased attention span and showed increase brain activity along with feeling energetic and positive.
  5.  Walking meetings: Instead of sitting in conference rooms for meetings, schedule walking meetings outside the office. Not only will it give you fresh air but also get a break from the office environment. If you have video meetings, then take those calls while standing. Walk up to your colleagues instead of emailing them.

While getting exercise is important to prevent sitting disease, it is also as important to eat healthily.

Most importantly, get up and read this article!