Health

Sitting for Long Periods of Time is Harmful Even if You Exercise

Image: Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Alvin Pujols

With the easing of lockdown-related preventive measures around the world, people have returned to many of the activities of everyday life including going to work. However, governments, such as the Canadian government has continued to encourage people to practice social distancing and other guidelines in order to control further spread of the coronavirus.

In addition, since many people are following instructions to prevent contracting the SARs-CoV-2, the virus responsible for causing COVID-19, there is a raised concern for staying active during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Even though workplaces and businesses have reopened, social distancing is limiting the majority to their homes and keeping them away from sports centers, gyms, and from doing other recreational activities that can help in being physically active.

While some people may be able to exercise and workout at home, many are simply not able to have enough physical activity in their daily routines. In response to the concern of people resorting to sedentary lifestyles during the crisis, governments and health agencies are providing specific guidelines on how to stay active while practicing social distancing and staying at home.

Read also: Eating Late Night Can Cause Weight Gain 

In accordance with instructions from the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, a person should have at least one hundred and fifty minutes of exercise in their routines per week. This is around thirty minutes of moderate to high-intensity workout for thirty minutes a day, five days out of seven days every week.

However, another concern along with meeting guidelines for staying physically active during the coronavirus pandemic is sitting for long periods of time.

If a large portion of people is following the aforementioned instructions and exercising for thirty minutes per day as well as getting around seven to eight hours of sleep per day, they still have roughly fifteen and a half hours for doing anything they like.

With the exception of sleeping and exercising, what are most people then doing during the ninety-seven percent of the day where they are awake? In consonance with a study based in Canada, around nine and a half hours of the day are spent sitting.

Sitting, which is counted as a form of sedentary behavior, is actually harmful to health especially if a person is sitting for long periods of time. Though it may sound harmless, it can be a contributor to the development of health issues such as heart disease, obesity, metabolic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, different forms of cancer, and hypertension.

This is a big cause of concern especially during the coronavirus pandemic because people may be spending even more time sitting even during activities such as working, eating, and streaming on the internet.

Researchers have noted that the known adverse effects of sitting apply regardless of the person’s physical activity levels which means even if a person exercises on a daily basis, sitting for long periods of time can still be harmful.

Read more about sitting and the risk of cardiovascular disease here. 

Therefore, health experts are urging people to perform certain activities while standing up while staying at home during the health crisis in order to reduce the risk of having associated health conditions.

In accordance with research, standing up every five minutes for every half an hour can significantly cut down the risk of developing health conditions. So, standing up while sitting down and working whenever taking a break. Activities such as talking on the phone and others can be done by standing up in the first place.

Another way to reduce the time spent sitting is by designing the space accordingly. Many people have created spots while working at home during the lockdown. Re-arrange portions of the house in a way that standing up is a requirement after every thirty minutes.

 

 

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Abeera I. Kazmi

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