A sedentary lifestyle is something that sneaks up on a lot of us. Anyone working in an office can attest to how it feels after spending 40 hours a week (or more!) sitting still. Couple that with a seated commute and an understandable desire to relax in front of the TV when you get home, and suddenly the majority of your waking hours are spent almost totally immobile.
The trouble with living more sedentary lifestyle is that it comes with health risks. Even runners who are active for the recommended 150 minutes a week can still suffer physically from the effects of sitting too much.
This is how it works: the mitochondria inside every cell in your body produce the energy your body needs to live. This energy is being produced constantly. If you don’t move often, the energy builds up and is altered into free radicals – potentially damaging and responsible for chronic inflammation in the body.
An increase in visceral fat can also be a side effect of too much immobility. This is the fat that wraps itself around and in between vital organs. It’s not possible to tell if someone has high levels of visceral fat by looking at them. The visible, subcutaneous fat is not as harmful in this case.
Finally, sitting constantly can weaken leg and glute muscles. Hip flexors can become shortened and tight, reducing mobility and flexibility. This can counteract a lot of the benefits of running if it’s happening constantly for long periods.
If you don’t want these sorts of issues to impact you, there’s a lot of things you can do to avoid the sedentary lifestyle. Avoid sitting for too long, even during the workday, by trying some of these ideas:
- Invest in a standing desk (or even a treadmill desk!),
- Set your alarm to stand up every 20-30 minutes,
- Change your workspace so you need to get up to put something in the bin,
- Arrange for standing or walking meetings where possible,
- Take the stairs and take a walk during lunch,
- Go find your colleague to ask a question instead of emailing,
- Use public transport and stand up on it,
- Wear a pedometer and arrange a step-count competition between workmates.
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Whilst Enertor has over 18 years Orthotics experience, our blog content is provided for informational purposes only and it is not a substitute for your own doctor’s medical advice. Enertor advises anyone with an injury to seek their own medical advice – and do not make any health or medical related decisions based solely on information found on this site.
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