Can your chair kill you? Maybe. But then we don’t only sit on chairs, so before you start throwing out your chairs and other things that you can sit on, kindly do yourself a favour and read further.
The numerous risks and diseases associated with cigarette smoking have been common knowledge for years but smoking seems to have its position as Enemy Numero Uno under threat from something we take for granted; SITTING!
I was extremely shocked years ago when I found out that if even you exercised for two hours a day and STILL sat down for long hours without getting up and moving at least some parts of your body then one is at risk of major life-style diseases and more.
How often do you find people forgetting to get off their seats for several hours; sometimes even over 6 hours at a stretch. Some of us even wear our long “sitting sprees” as a badge of honour. Well, let us do ourselves a favour; sitting for long hours does not mean you are studying or working hard. Neither does it help you concentrate better. The reality is simple. Our bodies were made to be in motion and anything that goes against this has consequences.
I think sitting for more than 2 hours without a break is not a smart thing to do. Yes we are human and sometimes a situation may call for sitting much longer but that should be a rare event. If you have had a back injury or history of back pain then remember to take a break every hour.
These breaks can be short. Even 2 minutes is enough time to take a few steps and maybe do a few stretches and then return to your “love seat”. These breaks are not for loitering at work or in school so kindly don’t add this to your list of excuses.
Sitting for long periods of time raises ones risk of developing neck and back pain but sitting is NOT the only cause.
The list of conditions that one may develop include; Dementia, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure and high cholesterol and most of these fall under cardiovascular (heart and blood vessel) diseases or modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. You may have heard that cardiovascular diseases account for a whopping 31% of all deaths globally and that is certainly close to 18 million lives many of who are whisked away at the prime of their lives.
Those long periods of sitting increase ones risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which may develop into a pulmonary embolism (PE) and this condition has the annoying and painful habit of causing sudden death if there is no prompt intervention.
Movement reduces stress and has a calming effect so it’s not surprising that when you become glued to your seat for several hours your level of anxiety makes a leap to join the billionaire race to space. Surely they are not racing to get into space. It is coincidence. They have all worked extremely hard and as in all things persevered.
Weight-bearing has a way of protecting us from osteoporosis (thinning of bones) and sitting definitely erodes this benefit.
Then I saw the BIG C, yes sitting for long periods without breaks may be opening doors to welcome certain cancers. Once we put all these risks together, we realize that sitting may actually be shortening not only our health-span but also our life-span.
So if like me you may forget to take a few minutes off your “love-seat” then have a big bottle of water with you whenever you have to sit for quite some time. At the very least as you drink a lot of water you are very likely to get up occasionally to urinate. You get to kill two birds with one stone. You get the benefits of drinking healthy refreshing water and then nature virtually forces you to take breaks from your seat.
Do you still want to find out if it is true that SITTING IS THE NEXT SMOKING? I guess we are all on the same page, it’s better to move than to find out if it really is.
AS ALWAYS LAUGH OFTEN, ENSURE HYGIENE, WALK AND PRAY EVERYDAY AND REMEMBER IT’S A PRICELESS GIFT TO KNOW YOUR NUMBERS (blood sugar, blood pressure, blood cholesterol, BMI)
Dr. Kojo Cobba Essel
Health Essentials Ltd/Mobissel
Dr. Essel is a medical doctor, holds an MBA and is ISSA certified in exercise therapy, fitness nutrition and corrective exercise.
Thought for the week –“STIGMATIZATION has no place in fighting this pandemic. It will cause people to hide and not disclose their status, seek medical care late and reduce all the benefits of protocols. We should all be comfortable enough to tell our close contacts when we test positive for COVID-19 so that the proper measures are taken. This is extremely important if we have to win this fight.”- Dr. Kojo Cobba Essel