Risk of sedentary habit
It is but true that the habit of simply sitting for long in a particular chair will pose adverse consequences in future. Of late, there are lot of changes in our food, clothing and life style in the name of fashion and trend. In the process, we have lost the treassures of our past traditions and practices. Unfortunately, these changes that keep on happening in our life are the real causes of our ill-health in practical terms.
We have been enjoying growth in terms of technological advancement at the expense of hard and physical work. Most of the youngsters engaged in cosy jobs are unaware of physical exertion and physical fitness. They sit glued to their arm chairs right form morning to evening or evening to morning without any change in their posture as a result of which only, they feel terribly exhausted and fatigued while returning home.
Again, when we are home or when we relax, we still use the same chair and maintain the same position while meeting our relatives and friends or watching TV etc. In the past our grandparents used to advise us not to couch in an easy chair as soon as we return home. They would advise us to sit on the floor with legs duly stretched. In the absence of these grandparents in modern times, such sane advice is not available.
This is precisely the result of copying westernization. Many people use the same chair for all these activities like doing work, eating, relaxing and sleeping.
Dr.Senthil Velan, specialist in the treatment of bones and joints, explains the adverse consequences of sitting for long, as under:-
Earlier, people above 50 years only used to suffer from ortho-related problems but whereas nowadays, even youngsters are affected with these problems due to early wear and tear of their bones in the body. The main reason is long hours of sitting in the same posture causing less blood circulation
Due to less physical exertion, what we eat does not get digested properly and converted into energy; instead, they become fatty substances and result in unwanted obesity leading to blood pressure, diabetics and excess cholesterol in our body
Certain things will simply rust if not used regularly. Similarly, our body parts like limbs etc. will become inactive if not they are constantly put to use. Also, this will result in certain diseases in our body
Long hours of sitting in a chair will result in blood staying in the legs itself. The accumulated and stagnant blood in our limbs will not reach our heart and brain as a result of which it will give way for blockage of blood vessels which may lead to paralysis also
Another aspect is that if we do not sit properly in the chair, the wrong posture will get us pain in our hands, legs, neck, shoulders and back. This is rather very common in the case of IT professionals. This will gradually lead to wear and tear of bones. This will cause nervous problems . Moreover when we get up after sitting in a chair for long hours, it will cause muscle stiffness. Further, it will result in undue pressure on our spine and back also.
Apart from the above, the practice of sitting for longer duration in a chair will lead to mental depression, loss of memory, blank thoughts, lack of concentration, loneliness, exhaustion, tension etc.
Long hours of sitting in air-conditioned atmosphere will deprive one of getting sufficient iron and vitamin D from direct sunlight
Physiotherapist Dr.Ramesh Kannan highlights the importance of movement in life. He emphasises on the aspect that ‘movement is life’ in a crisp manner. He says that lack of physical exercise will certainly lead to inability to do anything in future. In the olden days, our forefathers practised this style as a way of life but whereas the modern generation has grossly neglected.
Mere copying of westernization is highly harmful because of the fact that their civilization is different from ours due to differences in climate, food habit, life style, physical exercise and their daily routines. Hence, copying will not be meaningful. Likewise, continuous sitting posture means less blood circulation and heart beat. Accordingly, the calories and energy that will get burnt will be less. Whatever we eat during this time will get absorbed as fat content instead of nutrients. This will lead to obesity and related ailments.
Due to obesity, the body will not be able to carry the overall weight of the person as a result of which the knee joints will lose their strength. This will give room for regurgitation, burning sensation in the throat, stones in gall bladder etc.
The habit of continuous sitting and watching TV or working on the system will continue unabated even during nights. The resultant obesity will lead to lack of proper function of the internal parts in our body. As an outcome, the secretion of insulin in the pancreas will be less which will lead to type 2 diabetics. The glucose will get converted into fat and this will stay in our body itself.
Dr.Ramesh Kannan warns that the habit of sitting for long will lead to less activity level with idleness starting to dominate. Backache and pain around the waist will be caused. This will result in muscle catch and sprain also. Some people will get stones in the kidney.
How to avoid sitting pretty in a chair for long?:
May be, inside office, one may be required to sit in a chair and work. However, when it comes to working outside, one can avoid using the chair
Once in two hours, one should get up from the seat and walk awhile, preferably, where sunlight is available. This stroll can be for 5 minutes so that the benefits of direct sunlight can be obtained. Our body cells will get rejuvenated
Ergonomically designed chair will be ideal. It must match the height of the individual in such a way that the chair backrest fits the spine perfectly
Immediately after food, we should not again sit in a chair and work. It is better to stand or walk along for a few minutes before we resume our work. This will help regularize our blood circulation better.
If necessitated to use mobile, we can preferably walk and talk so that blood circulation will continue to be in motion
Both sitting or standing erect without changing the posture for long is again harmful
In offices, wherever possible, we must go to our floor by staircase instead of lift without minding anyone’s comment
To the extent possible, at home, we must sit on the floor and do the work. Similarly, we must use bicycle or go on foot for purchase of any item
Medical experts opine that the practice of sitting in a chair for long is equivalent to the habit of smoking with its concomitant effects.
We must always try to be brisk. Of course, we can relax but the relaxation should never be a risky one.
(This article written in Tamil by Mohanapriys has been reproduced in English by P.S.Ramamurthy)