Sitting For Too Long Can Be Dangerous: Exercises To Help

Sitting for extended periods of time is always publicised as being unhealthy, and the cause of serious health-related problems. Below is a daily workout session to keep you seated, and minimise, and even eliminate those problems.

Taxi drivers, office workers and all those other professions that require sitting down, including long distinct drivers, watching television, using the computer.

British archaeologist and academic Professor Biddle said, "Sitting for an extended period of time is thought to simulate the effects of weightlessness on astronauts," and especially if you don't ever exercise each day. 

In the 1950s, researchers found that London bus drivers were twice as likely to have heart attacks as their bus conductor colleagues who were always on their feet going up and down the stairs to check passengers tickets. 

Medical problems arise from laying down for extended periods. It cuts off the flow of blood to other parts of the body such as the lungs which can lead to serious complications. Being bed-bound, inactive or sitting for long periods will also slow the metabolism which affects the body's ability to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and break down body fat. Studies have linked excessive sitting with being overweight and obese, type 2 diabetes, some types of cancer, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and even an early death. 

60,000-100,000 Americans are affected from DVT, and 1 - 2 % die each year from DVT - a blocked blood vessel/artery causing a pulmonary embolism - from mild to deadly problems.

Many adults in the UK spend more than seven hours a day sitting or lying down and this typically increases with age. To reduce the risk of being inactivity, we are advised to exercise regularly and reduce the amount of time we sit. However, although high levels of moderate intensity physical activity lower the risk of death associated with prolonged sitting, but does not eliminate it. 

If you have to sit down for extended periods, the following exercises can be done in most types of seating to minimise any problems associated with prolonged sitting.

Do as fast as you like, or as many repetitions as you feel comfortable with. Make it harder or easier by placing your hands on the arm of chair. The chair seat, your body or desk chair for support while performing them. Ideally, doing arm exercises and simply standing up and performing other exercises will really help.
  • Butt Clenches:  Squeeze both butt cheeks as tight as possible, then alternate squeezing the left and then right buttocks and squeeze as tight and as much as possible lifting the whole body upwards as high as possible.
  • Hip Swivel Twists: Keeping feet flat on the floor, and push the right knee/hip forward and backwards, then alternate.
  • Toe Push/Calf Raises: Keeping both feet flat on the floor, tilt the feet upwards so the heals are raised and the toes are pointing towards the floor, then push-up and down until the toes just lift off the floor.
  • Feet Twists: Keeping the toes on the floor, and swivel each foot around and around.
  • Feet Push-Downs: Keeping feet flat on the floor, and force the feet down as hard as possible trying to lift the butt as much off the chair as possible.
  • Side Stretches: Lean to the left, and to the right as far as possible so each cheek is raised off the chair with each bend.
  • Side Twists: Twist the body to the left and then to the right and hold and stretch with each repetition.
  • Chair Push-Ups. Pushing the hands down on the edge of the seat to raise the butt off the chair. Bouncing up and down so the butt just-about lifts off the chair.
  • Body Rocking: Sitting on the edge of the chair, and leaning as far forward as possible so your butt cheeks are just about off the chair, bending the back and neck, then as far backwards, while raising the legs as high as possible.
  • Knee Raises: Raise each knee upwards as high as possible - then raise both knees up as high as you comfortably can.
  • Leg Kicks: Lift each leg up and kick the foot forward and return and alternate. Then kick both feet out together. You may need to hold on to something for support.
  • Leg Raises: Stretching each leg forward - lock the knee, and raise as high as you can - and alternate. Then do both legs together.
  • Leg Twists: Stretching the leg forward making small circular motions with your feet - and alternate.
A chair is still a chair but deadly when anyone's sitting there....for too long and too often.
The most important exercise or position to do while sitting is to "sit tall". Forcing the the body upright and force upwards at all times until it becomes natural- Never hunched. This is purely for posture and spinal reasons.

An easier way - stand-up whenever possible.

  • Standing at the desk, back bent forward (legs straight and spread very wide) while typing and viewing the monitor really helps.
  • Reposition your monitor and keyboard to a higher level and work standing up. 
  • Instead of sitting, turn the chair around and lean on the back of it. This will at least take some weight off your feet and allow the blood to flow. (Preferably a chair without castors/wheels). 
  • Chairs with arm-rests. Sitting on the edge the chair, grab the chair rests and do push-ups, (if they're strong enough), or use your forearms, just enough to get the butt just off the chair.
  • When TV commercials come on, stand up and move around. If the internet's stopped, or you're waiting for something, then move around off the chair.
  • Office workers. Eat lunch away from your desk. Somewhere you can walk to.
  • Drivers. Get out and move around whenever your stuck in a jam, or just waiting for passengers.
  • From everything I've studied, no amount of exercise will eliminate all the risks associated with prolonged (sedentary) sitting, but it will greatly reduce your chances of ill-health. 

About TOWP - - - 26.02.2018.


TOWP Health said...

June 30, 2017. According to researchers today in University of California, Santiago, U.S. If you want to stay healthy, keep your butt out of the chair. 'Woman' who sit for 10 hours or more each day and are otherwise inactive have cells which are 18 years older than those woman who are on their feet more. DJ Steve Wright. Radio 2.

Anonymous said...

April 25, 2017. Physical 'inactivity' is the 4th biggest killer in the World and sitting down for more than 6 hours (more than 70% of your waking day) has been proven to be a contributory factor to a wide range of conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Sitting down for too long makes men age by 8 years and in woman, it speeds up the ageing process. Professor Christopher Buckley, Arthritis Research Campaign Chair Of Rheumatology,