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What happens to your body when you sit for too long?

What happens to your body when you sit for too long?

Taking time to relax and put your feet up is important to maintain self-care, but doing this in excess actually has many negative effects. Even taking the time to decompress from a long day at the office might actually not be as great for you in the long run. Think about it – sitting all day just to come home and sit. Here are some ways that it can negatively impact your body.

1. Slow Digestion

Many times those who sit for long periods of time tend to eat while sitting as well. Sitting down after eating can cause the abdomen to compress, and then slows down digestion. Slow digestion can cause several small issues such as constipation, heartburn, bloating, cramping, and weight gain if this is a long-standing habit.

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2. Problems with Posture

Sitting for long periods of time can cause aching shoulders, neck, and back. It can also lead to poor posture which then turns into back problems or strains in the neck and shoulders. The more time that is spent sitting, the more likely it is to slip into a lean or slouch position. Commonly when at the computer, people hold their neck and shoulders forward which causes strain on these areas when held for an extended period of time. Sitting also applies more pressure on to the back than standing does, and the vertebrae of the back are designed to expand and contract with movement. Long periods of sitting cause the disks to compress and lose flexibility which raises the risk of a herniated disc.

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3. Leg Disorders

The term “use it or lose it” applies when sitting for long periods of time. The inactivity and excess sitting leads to poor circulation, blood clots, swelling, weak bones, varicose veins, and sometimes in extreme cases it can lead to osteoporosis. Make sure to stay active and keep the blood circulating. This is easy; if you were watching TV, during commercial breaks get up and take a walk or just take a walk once an hour, even when at work. The break will allow you to stretch your legs and get blood flowing and will refresh you mentally as well.

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4. Weak muscles

Generally the more active you are, the stronger you have the potential to be. Staying active does not only allow you to be strong but it keeps you moving and this maintains flexibility. Resting after a workout can be relaxing, but don’t forget to stretch the muscles or they will feel tight and make you sore the next day. It is not only legs that suffer when sitting for an extended period of time, standing and walking requires various muscles to tense that are not flexed when sitting. Prolonged sitting has the potential to cause muscle degeneration in the abs, glutes, calves, hips, and more.

How to Avoid These Dangers

These are a few simple ways to counteract the dangers of sitting for prolonged periods of time.

  • Taking the stairs whenever possible can jumpstart your heart rate and blood circulation.
  • Park further away, take a longer walk in route to your destination.
  • When in an office walk to your coworkers or classmates rather than sending them an email.
  • Use a chair without armrest as this can force you to sit up straighter.
  • Set a reminder to move around for at least 10 minutes every hour.
  • Walk on coffee breaks, during lunch or before or after class get some time in at the gym.
  • Stretch often and utilize an exercise ball. Small leg raises can be done under your desk instead of using a foot rest.

Turning into a puddle on the couch after a mentally exhausting day might seem appealing, but it does nothing for your physical health. If you have not been able to work some stretching into your day, consider taking time to visit the gym after work. It will help both mentally and physically.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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