Hi Friends of Oompf, it’s Alvan here. Today we will be talking about the dangers of having a sedentary lifestyle and recommend stretches that you can do if you spend long hours working at the desk.
A sedentary lifestyle is common with many especially in office workers and is defined by someone engaging in behaviours that expand very little energy. Choosing to be active is a good habit that should be formed overtime. If your day to day job is not something that requires you to move about much, there is a high chance you may form a habit of living a sedentary lifestyle until you either hit rock bottom, have a life changing experience, or find the motivation to get moving.
Here are some of the harmful effects of a sedentary lifestyle:
1. Health Risks. Being sedentary is the lack of movement or activity. What happens with inactivity? Weight gain. Weight brings it’s own problems, such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. The more weight you gain the harder your heart has to work. Your heart is a muscle, and the less it is worked, the weaker it becomes.
2. Loss of Flexibility. Blood doesn’t flow as freely through tight, bound muscles. You’ll start to notice more inflammation and pain as flexibility is lost. The more sitting you do, the more your hip flexors and low back become particularly tight. Your abs and glutes also become weaker making day to day activities difficult to do.
3. Lower Metabolism. A sedentary lifestyle means fewer calories burned. A lot of your body’s ability to break down fat simply shuts down.
4. Osteoporosis. Your body and muscles are made to move. Your bones are made to bear the weight of movement to stay strong. A sedentary lifestyle or too sitting and inactivity can lead to osteoporosis which is a decline in bone density causing your bones to become weak and brittle.
5. Increased Chances of Dementia, Depression, and Anxiety. The mind is more linked to the lack of movement than most realize, especially in the elderly. But you don’t have to become elderly before you feel the negative harmful effects of a sedentary lifestyle on the mind.
Getting active does not mean you have to jump into an intense fitness routine rightaway. For some, it can start with doing simple stretches daily or hitting simple goals such as a daily step count. Here are some stretches you can do if you spend a long amount of time seated at your desk.
1. Shoulder or pectoralis stretch
- Clasp hands behind your back.
- Push the chest outward, and raise the chin.
- Hold the pose for 10 to 30 seconds.
2. Torso stretch, or trunk rotation
- Keep your feet firmly on the ground, facing forward.
- Twist your upper body in the direction of the arm that’s resting on the back of your chair.
- Hold pose for 10 to 30 seconds.
- Repeat on other side.
Tip: Exhale as you lean into the stretch for a greater range of motion.
3. Hamstrings stretch
1. Remaining seated, extend one leg outward.
2. Reach toward your toes.
3. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds.
4. Repeat on the other side.
Be sure to do this one leg at a time, as doing this exercise with both legs out can cause back issues.
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