Thu | May 19, 2022

Your health is wealth: Keep it moving

Published:Wednesday | April 20, 2022 | 12:05 AMKeisha Hill/Senior Gleaner Writer

WHEN YOU sit, you use less energy than you do when you stand or move. Research has linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns. They include obesity and a cluster of conditions, including increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels that make up metabolic syndrome.

Too much sitting overall and prolonged periods of sitting also seem to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.

- YOUR ANXIETY MIGHT SPIKE – It could be that you are often by yourself and engaged in a screen-based activity. If this disrupts your sleep, you can get even more anxious. Plus, too much alone time can make you withdraw from friends and loved ones, which is linked to social anxiety. Scientists are still trying to figure out the exact cause.

- IT AFFECTS YOUR BACK – The seated position puts stress on your back muscles, neck, and spine. It is even worse if you slouch. Look for an ergonomic chair -- that means it will be the right height and supports your back in the proper spots. But remember, no matter how comfortable you get, your back still won’t like a long sitting session. Get up and move around for a minute or two every half-hour to keep your spine in line.

- IT CAN LEAD TO VARICOSE VEINS – Sit for too long and blood can pool in your legs. This put added pressure in your veins. They could swell, twist or bulge. You may also see spider veins, bundles of broken blood vessels, nearby. They usually are not serious, but they can ache. Your doctor can tell you about treatment options, if you need them.

- IF YOU DON’T MOVE IT, YOU COULD LOSE IT –Older adults who are not active may be more likely to get osteoporosis and could slowly become unable to perform the basic tasks of everyday life, like taking a bath or using the toilet. While moderate exercise won’t prevent it, you don’t have to go out and run a marathon or take up farming to stay mobile in your golden years. Just don’t plant yourself on the couch for hours at a time.

- YOUR CANCER RISK GOES UP - You may be more likely to get colon, endometrial, or lung cancer. The more you sit, the higher the odds. Older women have higher odds of breast cancer. That does not change if you are super-active. What matters is how much you sit.

HERE ARE A FEW TIPS:

- Work more movement into your day;

- Stand up and stretch every half-hour or so;

- Touch your toes;

- Take a stroll around the office;

- Stand at your desk for part of the day;

- Get a desk that raises or make your own;

- Set your computer on top of a box;

- Talk to your employer about a treadmill desk.

All these things can help stop the negative effects of uninterrupted sitting and keep you on the road to good health.

The effects of too much sitting are hard to counter with exercise. Even if you work out seven hours a week, far more than the suggested two to three hours, you cannot reverse the effects of sitting seven hours at a time. Do not throw away all that hard work at the gym by hitting the couch for the rest of the day. Keep moving!

keisha.hill@gleanerjm.com

SOURCE: Adult Health and Healthy Lifestyle; Better Health