Humans Are Designed to Move - Part 2
Carrying on from yesterday here's some more information on how inactivity affects our major organs and health...
When you sit down all day, you reduce the amount of oxygen entering your body. Sitting results in less space for your lungs to expand when you breathe and limits the amount of oxygen that fills your lungs.
Sitting down can limit the fresh blood and oxygen going to the brain, meaning it can decrease levels of our ‘feel-good’ hormones, endorphins, and slow down your brain function. It has an impact on your mental wellbeing, not just your physical health.
You might also find it difficult to concentrate on certain tasks as your day progresses. This is because the longer you sit, the more sluggish your brain becomes. This is partly due to the limited amount of oxygen absorbed by your lungs.
Diabetes is also a well-known factor linked to prolonged periods of sitting. In 2011, a study showed a decline in insulin response within just one day of prolonged sitting.
Muscles that become inactive don’t respond as easily to insulin - a hormone that is produced by your pancreas that helps with the breakdown of glucose for energy. This means that the pancreas is having to produce more and more insulin to break down glucose, and this often leads to diabetes.
Sitting down can cause your abdomen to compress, which slows down digestion. This can lead to issues such as bloating, heartburn and constipation.
Additionally when we’re sat down, our bowel functions less efficiently than when we’re stood up.
Sitting down can have a “severe negative impact on overall health and well being” but it is possible to build a healthier routine into your lifestyle, to counteract a sedentary job.
Chris Allen from The British Heart Foundation said “While more research is needed to fully understand the link between sedentary behaviour and heart disease, it’s well established that at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week helps to lower the risk of a heart attack or stroke.”
“We would urge everyone to get up and get moving at work – whether it’s taking a brisk walk at lunch or dusting off that old bike for the morning commute.”
Other simple ways to get moving throughout the day, while in the office. These include:
- Stand up when talking on the phone.
- Set a timer on your phone for 30 minutes and stand up from your desk and walk around for a minute or two.
- Have standing or walking meetings.
- Learn to improve your seating posture. The better you sit, the less the effects on your spine, ribcage and lungs.
- Better still...invest in a standing desk!