Do you spend most of your waking hours in an office chair? If so, you’re not alone. Research has shown that almost 40 per cent of Singaporeans lead a sedentary lifestyle, sitting for eight hours or more daily.
That sounds like a lot, but it makes sense. Most of us live and breathe in a desk-bound setting. When we’re not in the office, we’re on a couch fiddling with our mobile phones.
Not to mention all the time we spend seated on our commute, whether we’re on public transit or in the car. That compounds to the number of hours we’re on our rears!
You might wonder what the hoo-ha is. Isn’t sitting a part of modern day living?
The truth is that we should be concerned because physical inactivity, when unchecked, can be harmful for you. Being a couch potato goes against our human biology. Our bodies have, after all, evolved to run, jump, swim and climb. Without these movements, your body quite literally begins to shuts down. One scientist even said that sitting is more dangerous than smoking – and that we are “sitting ourselves to death”!
Sitting too much hurts your body
As far as our body is concerned, sitting is an unnatural posture that strains our necks, backs and wrists.
The most obvious implication of this is poor posture. Most of us round our backs and hunch our shoulders instead of sitting upright. Poor posture leads to disc problems in our necks and backs, amongst other conditions.
Sitting too much also undermines your glutes simply because you’re not mobilising the muscles in your buttocks. You risk developing a condition called glute amnesia, whereby your glutes “forget” how to function.
Weakened glutes also force the muscles in your lower back, your thighs and your hips to pick up the slack. This causes all manners of joint pain and back pain too.
And all of that is just the tip of the iceberg. Fossil records show that as we transitioned our ancestors’ hunter-gatherer lifestyles, it resulted in less dense bone structure. As we age, this results in a heightened risk of osteoporosis.
Sitting too much harms your health
Aside from aches and pains, a sedentary lifestyle can impair your body’s metabolic functions. Doctors have observed that sitting too much severely affects how your body reacts to insulin.
Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, is what the body relies on to process sugar. It’s what maintains your blood sugar levels within a normal range. When your body can’t use insulin properly, your blood sugar levels rise, along with cholesterol and various markers of inflammation. Persistently high levels of these can lead to massive health problems like weight gain and type 2 diabetes.
Studies have shown that due to all the inflammation that occurs from prolonged sitting, you are more likely to get cancer (specifically colorectal, ovarian and endometrial cancers), cardiovascular disease and depression and anxiety.
Even your brain pays the price. A sedentary lifestyle causes the memory-forming regions in your brain to thin out, which in turn results in faster cognitive decline.
Moreover, if you’re a woman, you are twice as likely get a life-threatening blood clot in your lungs compared to someone who’s active.
Sitting too much could kill you
To make matters worse, evidence has shown that sitting too much is linked to a higher risk of death from 14 common causes including the major illnesses we mentioned earlier – diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Experts believe that this correlation exists because other unhealthy behaviours kick in when we’re sitting. For instance, we tend to snack excessively when we’re watching TV. Even at the office, it’s normal to crave junk food when the afternoon slump hits us and we end up munching on unhealthy snacks.
Reduce the damage of sitting too much
You might think these problems won’t affect you if you exercise. It’s not that simple, unfortunately. Even a quick daily workout can’t counteract all the negatives that come from sitting 8 to 15 hours per day.
The rule of thumb is, you should get up from your seat at least once every half hour. This interrupts the periods of sitting and reduces its adverse impact on your body and health. Even talking a walk to the toilet and back counts.
To integrate more movement into your day, you could work from a standing desk, take the long route walking to lunch, or set an alarm clock to remind yourself to move every hour. The less you remain stationary, the better.
You will still need to exercise regularly though. Experts say that you need 60 to 75 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per day to counteract the effects of sitting too much.
Getting up every 30 minutes won’t be sufficient. Either go to the gym for your usual workout or find other opportunities to move. You could even alight the bus or train one or two stops earlier on your commute home.
CSH therapy® counteracts your sedentary lifestyle
If you can’t escape the pull of a sedentary lifestyle that’s contributing to your weight gain, consider our signature CSH therapy®.
CSH therapy® uses a traditional Chinese approach to keep your metabolism functioning at an optimal level – without the need for regular exercise.
It supercharges your metabolism through a few complementary treatments: cupping therapy, which loosens up tissue and improves blood flow; and scraping therapy, which stimulates blood and lymph circulation and flushes out deep-seated toxins.
It also includes heat treatment, which targets stubborn fat in problem areas like your hips, butt and thighs.
The best part is that CSH therapy® is 100% safe and natural – that means no diet products, ingested, applied or otherwise. Read about the clients who’ve enjoyed long-lasting results with our treatment here.
Interested to find out more? Get in touch with us for a chat!