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Being Seated For Long Could Be Lethal

    Jan-21-2010

Health experts have warned that remaining seated for prolonged periods could turn out to be detrimental for our health - even deadly at times. In fact, since long, scientists have been repeatedly warning people not to remain seated for too long, as this may be harmful for your health even if you exercise regularly. In fact, where you spend your time sitting is immaterial - you may be sitting in office, in the car, at school, in front of a computer or a television, but what actually counts is the number of hours you spend in a sitting position.

Although research in this regard is still in its initial stage, a number of researches have hinted that people who keep sitting for most part of the day are not only vulnerable to put on unwanted fat, but may also have heart attacks and eventually succumb to the condition.

Elin Ekblom-Bak of the Swedish School of Sports and Health Services has suggested in an editorial published recently in the British Journal of Sports Medicine that the authorities need to do some rethinking regarding the manner they describe physical activity with a view to emphasize on the perils to sitting for prolonged periods. It needs to be mentioned here that though the health authorities have released instructions suggesting the least amount of physical activity necessary for any individual, they are yet to recommend any limitation regarding the time that people should remain in sitting position. According to Ekblom-Bak, our body begins to send detrimental indications after just spending four hours in sitting position. Elucidating her view, Ekblom-Bak clarified that the genes controlling the quantity of glucose and fat in our body begins to stop working or blackout after we have been sitting for over four hours.

It needs to be emphasized here that sitting at the desk for long hours is also detrimental for the health of people who exercise regularly. A physical activity specialist at the World Health Organization (WHO), Tim Armstrong says that people who undertake daily workouts, but also spend long hours sitting would benefit immensely if they spread their exercise schedule throughout the day, instead of having a single session.

This was, however, not good news for 31-year-old Aytekin Can. Can works in a financial firm in London and spends most part of his day sitting before a computer. However, on more than a few evenings every week, he also teaches jiu jitsu - Japanese martial arts encompassing wrestling and also spends time doing Thai boxing. Although Can admitted that remaining in a still position for prolonged periods is harmful for health, he hoped that the fact that he is active whenever he has time, may be of some help.

Notwithstanding Can's perception regarding the perils of sitting for long, findings of a research, which followed over 17,000 Canadians for approximately 12 years or so, published in 2009 showed that irrespective of whether they exercised or not, people who spent most of their time sitting faced a greater risk of death compared to others. According to Peter Katzmarzyk of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge who led the Canadian research, said that they were yet to find sufficient confirmation of the hypothesis that sitting was detrimental for health. However, he acknowledged that it is always better if a person gets up often, as this interrupts the inactive manners.

Statistics made available from a survey conducted in the United States in 2003-04 showed that on average most Americans spent more time sitting in cars rather than sitting at their desks. However, substantiating her views, Ekblom-Bak has emphasized that people ought to continue working out as it has plenty of advantages vis-à-vis our health. She added that when people are in their office that they ought to try and get up as frequently as possible to interrupt with their sitting. Ekblom-Bak has a suggestion too. She says, "Don't always send emails to your colleagues in office. At times, you should also get up, walk up to their desk and talk to them while in a standing position."

Meanwhile, health experts have emphasized on the need for more studies on the subject to find out the exact extent to which remaining seated for long periods is harmful for our health. They have also suggested that the future researches on this subject should gauge the potential adverse effects of remaining seated for long.

Some health benefits of exercises

Too little exercise is not useful, while doing it in excess too is not effective, while not undertaking any exercise may prove to be devastating for your health. In fact, it is never advisable to adopt a regular and rigorous exercise regimen. In case you require some inspiration to start exercising, you ought to know that there are many health benefits of performing exercise daily. Some of them are mentioned below briefly.

Cardiovascular health
Not doing any exercise, whatsoever, increases the risks of developing cardiovascular diseases. When you exercise regularly, it helps to make the heart stronger - just like in the case of your muscles. When your heart is strong, it will be able to pump additional blood with much reduced efforts.
Longevity
It has been proved that people who are active physically usually live for a longer period. According to the findings of a 20-year follow-up research, undertaking exercises on a regular basis helps to diminish the chances of untimely death.
Improved memory
Exercise is useful for development of the brain cells, enhanced memory and cognition. Exercise also encourages the formation of fresh cells inside the brain. Researchers have discovered that exercise especially stimulates the specific brain areas that control our memory as well as learning. For example, elderly people who undertake exercises or participate in physical activities on a regular basis usually perform better in tests that involve making decisions as well as memory and solving problems.
Blood pressure lowering effect
While almost every form of exercise appears to be useful in lowering blood pressure, the precise manner in which they help to reduce blood pressure is yet to be ascertained. It seems that aerobic exercises are comparatively more effective for blood pressure in people with hypertension (high blood pressure) compared to those without this problem.
Cholesterol lowering effect
While exercise alone can burn fats, it is not the same in the case of cholesterol. Nevertheless, exercise plays a vital role in controlling the cholesterol levels in our bloodstream, as it helps to lessen the levels of LDL or 'bad' cholesterol, total cholesterol and triglycerides, while enhancing the levels of HDL or 'good' cholesterol.
Enhanced sexual performance
It has been proved that undertaking exercises on a regular basis helps to sustain as well as enhance one's sex life. Exercises result in improved muscle tone and strength, cardiovascular functioning as well as composition of the body and all these together help to enhance sexual performance in men as well as women. Scientists have discovered that men who work out on a regular basis have lesser chances of suffering from erectile dysfunction (ED) as well as impotence, compared to those who never exercise.
Lower Stroke Risk
Data available from scientific studies hint that if you undertake reasonable to elevated levels of physical activity, it may possibly lessen the chances of having ischemic, total and hemorrhagic strokes.
Antidepressant effect
Work-outs are very beneficial for our health and are a potent antidepressant. Findings of numerous studies have revealed that exercising on a regular basis helps to support our mental health, while lessening the symptoms related to depression. Regular exercises have an antidepressant outcome that can be compare to powerful antidepressant drugs, such as Zoloft. If you desire to do away with the depression symptoms or improve them notably, it is essential that you should perform regular exercises - at least for 30 minutes each day and no less than 3 to 5 days every week.
Preventing and controlling diabetes
Findings of several superior quality studies (for example, the Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study) have provided sufficient proof that that undertaking reasonable physical activity together with a balanced diet and a weight loss regimen can help to reduce the chances of developing diabetes by as much as 50 per cent to 60 per cent.
Muscle strength
Time and again, findings of several health studies have shown that undergoing strength training helps to augment the strength as well as the mass of the muscles. At the same time, it reduces extra body fat.
Weight control
Undertaking exercises on a regular basis aids in attaining as well as sustaining a healthy body weight. In case your calorie ingestion is in excess of what you require in a day, exercising will help to get rid of the surplus calories and, at the same time, regulate your body weight. Actually, regular exercise helps to accelerate the rate at which you burn calories or use up the energy, thereby causing an augmented metabolism. When your metabolism rate is sped up owing to exercise, it will help you to sustain a more rapid pace for extended periods every day.
Bone strength
When your lifestyle is active, it helps to improve your bone density. Undertaking weight-bearing work-outs on a regular basis is beneficial for formation of bones, delaying bone loss as well as provides protection from osteoporosis. In fact, osteoporosis is a degenerative condition wherein bone loss is related to aging.
Better sleep
People suffering from insomnia or sleeplessness will benefit if they exercise every day. As the body temperature drops for about five to six hours following work-outs, it helps us to fall sleep easily and also sleep better.

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