(AscendHealthy.com) – Most of us have a bad habit or two. Even when the repercussions are clear, we can let blinders and denial interfere with our choice to make healthy changes. There’s one habit many of us might not even think about, and yet nearly everyone is guilty of it. We have the details on this deadly habit and what you can do to keep it from affecting your health.
Our Shared Bad Habit
No one meant for the habit to get so bad, and yet here we are. Some of us may have started doing it for work; others might have been trying to stave off boredom at home — but somewhere along the way, it got out of hand. It might seem innocent enough, and many people aren’t even aware of how much they’re doing it, but this silent threat could even be killing some of us.
Most adults spend an average of 6.4 hours every day sitting. Whether working at a desk or slouching on the sofa, too many of us have taken to spending far too much time planted on our rears.
According to Reuters, surges in computer use and video watching are partially to blame, as well as time-saving innovations like microwave ovens, which have decreased labor at home and increased the potential for free time. Forbes reports that increases in desk jobs have also contributed to this epidemic.
The Negative Health Impacts
All that sitting might not seem like a massive health threat, but according to the Australian Department of Health and Human Services, the potential repercussions are numerous:
- Wasting muscles
- Weight gain
- Back pain and spine deterioration
- Anxiety and depression
- Increased risks for diabetes, heart disease, varicose veins, blood clots and certain forms of cancer
All people are at risk, but older adults may have even higher chances of suffering these symptoms.
Combatting the Effects
Reversing the damage might be easier said than done. One study found regular exercise alone wasn’t enough to combat the effects of sitting all day. Some researchers are exploring the possible benefits of “sit-stand schedules” in the workplace, which keep people at desk jobs moving and may also improve wellbeing and productivity.
Mayo Clinic recommends that people who must sit for extended periods take short breaks every 30 minutes to stretch and move around. Alternate between standing and sitting and see if coworkers are willing to take walks during staff meetings. Try moving the computer to a treadmill-ready desk for part of the shift or standing while watching television — whatever gets your body upright and your blood pumping a little more throughout the day.
Bad habits can be hard to break, but they only have as much power as we allow them. Sitting has taken over many of our lives, and it’s a stronger force than most of us want to admit, but we can take charge. The changes might be difficult at first, but they’ll be worth the effort in the long run.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension
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