With the lockdown this year we have all be sitting maybe a bit more than we normally would. In this article Nadiayoga looks at what this means for our health and offers tips on how to counteract any negative effects.
Like any other active person, I don’t usually sit for extended periods of time. I am constantly in and out of the house to see a client, or to give yoga and meditation classes.
During the lockdown, however I have found myself occupying the sofa for a long period of time. I was doing admin, social media, etc., which by the way I love to do. Interestingly I started finding myself totally exhausted, even shattered a couple of times. I was thinking “wait a minute, what is going on here?” and then it hit me.
Of course, while I was still giving classes online, I was sitting 10 times longer, maybe even more, watching the screens on my devices. Later on I noticed there was some weight gain, constipation even, and a bit of online social distancing.
Was I surprised? Well, the answer is no. I was too busy adapting to this new temporary way of life that I failed to notice it had already affected me. And even though it is temporary for me, there are so many of you who love your job but are endangered by this way of life.
Let’s dig a little deeper.
Scientists first noticed the relationship between prolonged sitting and the negative health effects quite some time ago in a study that compared two similar groups: transit drivers, who sit most of the day, and conductors or guards, who don’t.
Even though their diets and lifestyles were a lot alike, those that sat were about twice as likely to get heart disease as those that stood. Coming closer to present days, the latest scientific studies have shown that sitting for a long duration on a regular basis can reduce life expectancy.
Sedentary behaviour (from the Latin sedere — ‘to sit’) is the term now used to categorise those behaviours for which we use less energy like prolonged sitting when travelling, at work, at home and in leisure time.
High amounts of sedentary behaviour have been associated with increased risks of several chronic conditions. Below are outlined some negative effects:
Sitting for long periods is thought to slow the metabolism, which affects the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and break down body fat. Sitting for longer than 30 minutes can put your body into a more relaxed, and a less energy-burning state.
Tip: If you don’t have a standing desk try to stand up every 30 minutes to one hour. Bend your knees slightly and try a simple forward fold and slowly and mindfully roll up one vertebra at a time. When you move at regular periods it helps to decrease triglycerides, blood sugar, waistlines and cholesterol as well as cause a small increase in metabolism.