The Dangers of Sitting Too Much
Does this look familiar? We all know that families all over the world, because of the Covid-19 Pandemic, are literally on their computers non-stop with online jobs, schools functioning only through Zoom classes, even churches holding services via the internet. Even before Covid-19 hit, many of us were having difficulty getting the necessary amount of exercise to make a difference. But the pandemic has made things worse ~ going outside less, the closures of recreational facilities and commercial gyms, and working from home have all contributed to a more sedentary life.
So why should we be concerned? According to a study of 4,757 adults by the European Health Journal, prolonged sedentary periods led to larger waist sizes and higher levels of blood fats, even if subjects participated in regular sessions of moderate to vigorous exercise outside of their inactive hours. So who fared the best? Those who did both regular exercises and took breaks to stand or walk at regular intervals.
Chronic excessive levels of sitting have been associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease, Type-2 diabetes, hypertension, and even some cancers. Even for young people who may not be concerned yet with these chronic conditions, excessive sitting poses potential harm through an increased risk of depression and anxiety.
According to ANH-USA, animal studies show that how much time we are sedentary is related to how well our bodies process fat. The studies in rats show that leg muscles only produce the lipase lipoprotein (fat-processing) molecule when they are being actively flexed ~ that is, when standing, or better still, walking around ~ and low levels of he molecule are associated with health problems, including heart disease. In short, sitting makes this important molecule slow down. In fact, actively contracting the muscles produces a whole suite of substances that have a beneficial effect on how the body uses and stores sugars and fats.
As we all practice social distancing these days, we need to pay attention to making sure we get up and move around to counter the bad effects of sitting too long. The daily decisions we make, including not sitting so much, can truly impact the state of our health and well-being. One of the interesting facts I learned from ANH-USA was that we even have specialized muscles designed for low-intensity activity ~muscles very rich in enzymes which grabs fat and cholesterol from the blood, burning the fat into energy while shifting the cholesterol from LDL (the bad kind) to HDL (the healthy kind). But when we are sedentary, our muscles relax, dropping that enzyme activity by 90% to 95% ~ the fat is left in the bloodstream and our healthy cholesterol soon dives by 20%!
A few tips to keep you moving include the following:
- Set an alarm on your SmartPhone for every 30 minutes to remind yourself to get up and walk around
- While watching your favorite TV show, make yourself get up often to stretch and exercise in place
- Ask a buddy to join you for a walk (socially distanced of course) and enjoy nature
- Get up often to give yourself a drink of water ~ even treat yourself now and then with a glass of selzer and sliced lime or lemon
- When you talk on the phone, make sure you are standing – even walk around the house while you chat.
We will be faced with the Covid-19 challenges for some time so it is especially important to think about moving throughout the day. How about you? What do you do to keep yourself active in these pandemic times?