Hello folks, hope you all had a fun filled physically active weekend? I did, though not as much as I would have wished. But hey, some is better than none at all and on the bright side I have two extra days of holiday to rectify it.

This week’s topic is about the dangers inherent in sitting down for prolonged periods. I bet you are sitting down reading this. Yes I know, I also sat down to type this blog post. But, I definitely do move around more. Do you? I agree that technology and advances in science and medicine have certainly helped us live longer lives, but quite a few modern “conveniences” have actually made things harder for us too health wise. Some of these “conveniences” are making us to sit more than is necessary. This has made some of us vulnerable to various non-communicable diseases (Obesity, Diabetes Melliatus, Cardiovascular disease, Chronic back pain, etcetera). The sequelae of sitting down for prolonged periods lead to:

• Weight gain.
• Weakening of core muscles.
• Screwing up of posture.
• Messing up of our mobility and flexibility

Some studies have shown that sitting for more than six hours during your leisure time each day had a higher mortality rate than those who sat for three hours or less. The epidemiologists, who conducted these studies, concluded that excessive sitting literally shortens a person’s life by several years.

Another study showed that men who sat for 23 or more hours (that’s sitting for nearly a whole day) a week had a 64% greater chance of dying from heart disease than those who sat for 11 hours per week or less. This sounds unbelievable, but it can be explained. We simply don’t expend much energy sitting down compared to standing up and/or moving around…sure it might be just a difference of a dozen calories here and there, but multiplied out over ten hours a day, 365 days a year, and ten-plus years…that can equal quite a bit of weight gain. When the weight gain becomes excessive the “vicious cycle” begins, and culminates in any of the non-communicable diseases.

Therefore folks lets make it a habit to:

Be more active – Don’t spend eight hours at your desk only to come home and spend five hours in front of your TV.

Try and stand a lot more, I don’t mean slouched-over shoulder type which a lot of us engage in, that messes with our posture. By standing erect you help your spine. Yes, your legs will probably get tired. Get over it! Be more active, even if it means making your activities a little more active than they need to be.

You can also try to fix your posture while sitting in your chair. I once saw a “back rest” that helps in maintaining the normal lordosis of the spine when attached to the sit. This is medically significant as it helps in strengthening your lower back muscles too (interested in getting one? The Truppr store can be of help).

Switching to a stool or a chair without a back support also works on your posture by helping to strengthen your lower back and core.

Get up every 30 minutes (unless you are asleep): Whether you are at work at your desk, sitting at that classy joint, lounging on your couch after a long day, or propped up in bed with your iPad, iphone or blackberry tweeting away. You have probably been seated on your gluteals for hours. Set a time on your computer to force yourself to get up every 30 minutes and go for a walk – go harass your co-workers or go for that 5 minutes walk. Just get up and move!

Folks get your gluteals off that seat right now, because i know you are seated reading this piece and go and join that Coredratics class, dance aerobic class, 5km run, football game or the 11.8km walk.

Its good for your health.

Your Physical Activity Advocate
@DAlawode

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