Take A Seat but not for too long: The danger of sitting for hours
By: Elias Azizi, Contributing Writer
People around the world of all ages sit all the time. Sometimes they take a seat and relax, or sit while they write their work. Humans have gotten used to sitting while doing everyday activities for comfort, but one must not forget about the negative effects of excessive sitting.
Define “excessive sitting”
Excessive sitting is a confusing statement, so let’s break it down. Sitting for 4 hours a day or less is considered good, so do not be alarmed if you sit for around this long each day. Once you start sitting for more than 8 hours a day, it becomes excessive, and a health hazard. Many people around the world sit for this long each day, due to their jobs, poor environment, and injuries. Some people just don’t want to stand up and move, since they’d rather lazily but calmly sit on their couch and watch the western conference finals of the NBA playoffs.
The health risks of excessive sitting
Obesity: this one is quite obvious. If one sits for the majority of the day, it means that they spend very little time standing and moving. With little movement, a low amount of calories are burned, which can have a detrimental effect on individuals with slow metabolic rates. A mix of slow metabolism and excessive sitting will inevitably lead to a minor to massive weight gain. Once one becomes overweight, or even obese, they become high-risk individuals and are more likely to suffer from other diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure, or type 2 diabetes.
Mental health-related issues: we tend to sit down while we work, or play video games privately. Therefore, sitting down for too long may be a sign of prolonged isolation from others. Being alone can be devastating to your mental health. One will likely feel depressed due to the lack of social interactions. As well, in schools, now that we’re in a pandemic, students are being isolated from their peers and are spending more and more time away from their friends in the classroom.
How to prevent these health risks
Evidently, one would not want to face such issues and diseases from sitting down too long. Luckily, there are many simple ways to prevent these diseases.
Exercise during at least one point of the day: for most of us, we don’t work throughout the entire day. Usually, we spend less than half the day doing homework and other tasks, so one would have plenty of time to do some exercise. It is recommended to do at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day, but I believe that 60 minutes is best. Spend this hour playing sports, taking a walk, running, lifting weights, or literally any other activity that involves movement. Not only will this counter the effects of sitting down for a long time, but it will also make your mind feel refreshed and relaxed.
Standing up a couple of times per hour : is physical exercise not possible? We have all had some days where we felt as if we had an endless amount of work. Sometimes, an hour of physical activity is impossible, as every hour of the day must be spent working. If this is the case, don’t fear, because there is another way to reverse the effects of excessive sitting that only requires a few minutes each hour. Every 30 minutes, try your best to get up and walk around a bit for a minute or two. This will help prevent your legs from falling asleep, and will ensure that your sitting does not become excessive. Even standing up every 60 minutes will do. It is a simple task, that has a major positive impact.
Evidently, since the school year is starting once again, students will receive more and more homework, which will result in an increased amount of time sitting. It is important for one to understand the risks of excessive sitting. Hopefully, after reading this article, one would realize that sitting for long periods of time is extremely harmful to our health, and can cause serious conditions in the future. Lastly, do not focus on your work more than your health. Grinding out an assignment may be important, but keeping your body healthy is worth more than an essay. Don’t forget to do at least half an hour of physical activity a day, or at least stand up a bit every now and then.