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Stand Up And Get Moving! Do You Know Sitting For Too Long Can Kill You?

Stand Up And Get Moving! Do You Know Sitting For Too Long Can Kill You?

Whether you are a student or a professional, chances are you have a life that requires a lot of sitting. Whether it be listening to lectures for 8 hours a day or typing at a computer until you finish that important project, studies have shown that the average American sits at a desk for about 9-10 hours a day!

So let’s break that down:

If we assume the average American is also working 5 days a week for roughly 9 hours for about 30 years, that adds up to 492,750 hours of sitting. And that doesn’t even include the time we sit on our drive to work, school or while we binge watch our favorite show!

How sitting comfortable for too long affects you over time?

Sitting in itself isn’t necessarily a bad habit, but sitting a lot is detrimental. When you sit too often in your day-to-day life, you could experience an early death (due to cardiovascular diseases and even cancer), posture problems and issues in your back and shoulders, decreased hip flexibility, poor blood circulation and even organ problems [1]!

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Research has proven that sitting for long periods can even lead to obesity and metabolism issues. This can be a vicious cycle, since the heavier and more unhealthy you are can make it harder and harder to try to get up and move.

One recent study compared adults who actively spent less than two hours a day in front of a screen with those who habitually spent more than four hours a day sitting. Those with greater screen time had an increased risk of death (by any of the aforementioned causes) by 50%, and a 125% increased risk of heart attack!

Why are we so used to sitting?

With so much research proving sitting is a quiet killer, it seems surprising that so many of us are guilty of indulging in hours and hours of it. But it can be challenging to avoid sitting for long periods. Whether working or studying, sitting happens. And when you come home from a long day at school or work, you can feel mentally drained, leading you to more hours of down time while you “relax” with a tv show.

Habits like sitting down can also be hard to break when you’re surrounded by people doing the exact same thing. After all, when you go into work and sit at your desk, you’re most likely surrounded by other people also sitting at their desks. So it may not occur to you that this is a negative behavior. And if you tend to be a little shy, the last thing you may feel inspired to do is to stand up while everyone around you is sitting down.

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“But standing makes me tired!”

Unfortunatley, many of us try to avoid standing for any extended amount of time because it wears us out. But really it’s just that we aren’t as used to it as we are sitting or lying down. It’s easy to take the easy way and sit in a chair; we are supported and don’t have to rely on our own bodies to support us. Unfortunately, this is a dangerous mindset to indulge in, as too much of anything can be unhealthy.

Don’t let yourself get too comfortable with your chair

As is the case with breaking any bad habit, the first step is to accept that you’re doing something unhealthy. Thankfully, our advice isn’t to spend the rest of your day standing, but rather to take small steps to incorporate a healthy change.

Find opportunities to stand up

Even if you think you stand or walk a healthy amount, there are undoubtedly more opportunities for you to get up. If you’re making a phone call (at work or in your personal life), try to stand for part of it. If you take public transportation to get to work or school, stand instead of sit. While this may seem like a very small change, it can do your body a lot of good.

Stand while you work or suggest getting a standing desk 

At work, you may feel your only option is to sit down. However, numerous companies now make a standing desk. Some are full desks, while others can sit on top of a standard work desk and lift to a desired height. While these aren’t always inexpensive, it never hurts to email your boss and ask if this is something the company would expense. Typically, if a company recognizes it may help their employee be more productive (and healthier, leading to less sick days), they are happy to procure it. And if they are unwilling to spend the money, but you’d like to invest in it yourself, ask if they have a problem with it.

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Get your body moving with a lunch break walk 

Whether you have a standing desk or not, you can still get your blood flowing at work with a walk on your lunch break. While this isn’t a suggesting to skip eating in exchange for a walk around the parking lot, it is a suggestion to spend as many minutes as you can up and walking. You may be surprised to feel more awake and focused when you return to your desk!

Get your coworkers and classmates involved

When you’re trying to improve your health, don’t be afraid to involve others. Along with keeping you motivated, it can also help your friends, family and coworkers to improve their help as well. You may find that many in your office or school would like to take a walk with you on your lunch break or petition to get standing desks. And you’ll feel doubly good for having positively impacted someone’s good health!

Take a break, from your chair

Ask your boss if he/she would have an issue with you taking a brisk walk around the building every hour or so. Ideally you could stand and walk for every hour of sitting, but it’s important not to take advantage of this time away from your desk.

Include standing up as part of your fitness plan 

If you’re goal-oriented, set a goal of steps to meet every day. FitBit or different smart watches will help you track, but apps such as Map My Run or the native Health App on an iPhone will also do the trick. Start off with a goal of 7000-8000 steps every day.

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Go out and stand up

Hopefully after reading this article, you’re inspired to stand up or get walking, but don’t wait around and start tomorrow. Share this article with friends and family and go take a walk. This is the only body you have, so try to take care of it. Even if you’re young and healthy now, it’s so important to do as much as you can to maintain that. Good luck on your new habit!

Featured photo credit: kaboompics via kaboompics.com

Reference

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Jolie Choi

Gone through a few heartbreaks and lost hundreds of friends but I am still happy with my life.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away

13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away

Creating your productivity ritual — a routine that helps you to maintain a peak level of energy can get you the best out of your days.

Part of creating your productivity routine involves removing activities that drain you (what I call “kryptonites”), and that includes your bad habits.

Like it or not, bad habits are bad for you — mentally, physically, emotionally and even socially in some cases. While some bad habits are harder to quit than others, it doesn’t change the fact that you need to get rid of them. Here are 13 bad habits to quit right away:

1. Stress Eating

I used to be a serious stress eater. I would eat whenever I felt unhappy, stressed, disappointed, anxious, or even… happy! My eating had nothing to do with being hungry, and everything to do with using food to fill my emotional voids.

While eating would comfort me, this feeling was momentary and would disappear right after I was done eating. Instead, what I had left would be the same emotional void that triggered me to eat in the first place (be it unhappiness or stress), a 2,000 excess calorie intake over what I should have eaten for the day, and anger at myself for having stress ate.

I’ve since overcome stress eating. I have healthy eating habits and a healthy relationship with food today where I no longer use food as a tool to fill my emotions.

If you are a stress eater, don’t fret — here’s how to manage your stress better:

How to Manage Stress (A Step-by-Step Guide to Turn Stress Into Success)

2. Nail Biting

Not only is nail biting unhygienic, it is also socially repelling, leads to dental problems like malocclusion of the anterior teeth,[1] potentially cause stomach problems,[2] and lead to severely deformed fingernails in the long run.

People who bite their nails tend to have shorter nails than the average person; their nail plates also experience scarring and may eventually become absent.[3]

Understand what triggers your nail biting behavior and replace it with another neutral to positive habit. Make habits to break habits.

For example, if you bite your nails when you are stressed, go for a walk or listen to music instead the next time you feel stressed.

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3. Hanging out with Naysayers

We all know these people — people who play devil’s advocate to every idea you have and every goal you want to pursue. We are already our greatest self-critics, so it doesn’t help when there’s someone beside us, ever ready to pounce on what we say and tear it down.

Hang out less with these naysayers and spend more time with supportive people who share constructive feedback instead. You will be much happier this way.

Learn how to get rid of naysayers with these 10 Ways to Ignore the Naysayers and Achieve Your Dreams.

4. Being with People Who Don’t Appreciate You

Haven’t all of us been in this situation before? Trying to please people who don’t appreciate us? Bending over backwards to be there for people when they are never there for us?

While we give without expectations of return, we need to draw a line with people who don’t value us because these people damage our souls.

Stop spending time with people who don’t appreciate you, and spend more time with people who do instead.

Unsure who you should get rid of? Learn about it here: 5 Kinds of Toxic People That You Need to Get Rid of Now

5. Smoking

Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable death globally.[4]

In just the United States alone, about 500,000 deaths are attributed to smoking-related diseases annually. A recent study estimated that as much as one-third of China’s male population will have significantly shortened life-spans due to smoking! Gender-wise, male and female smokers lose an average of 13.2 and 14.5 years of life respectively — that’s over a decade of life right there.[5]

Not only that, smoking causes pre-mature skin aging (i.e. wrinkles), yellowing of teeth, bad breath, and worse of all — jeopardy of the health of people around you, including your loved ones. Studies have shown that non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke are at risk to many of the health problems associated with direct smoking.[6]

Smoking risks

    6. Excessive Drinking

    All of us know that drinking too much alcohol is bad for us, but do you know how bad it really is?

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    According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, drinking too much — be it on a single occasion or over time — can seriously damage your health:[7]

    • Brain problems: Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, making it harder to think clearly and move with coordination.
    • Heart diseases: Cardiomyopathy – Stretching and drooping of heart muscle, Arrhythmias – Irregular heart beat, stroke, high blood pressure
    • Liver diseases: Steatosis or fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, cirrhosis
    • Pancreas problems: Pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that prevents proper digestion.
    • Different types of cancer: Mouth, esophagus, throat, liver, breast

    If you drink a lot, perhaps cutting it out right away will be tough. Cut down the number of glasses you drink each time, followed by the number of times you drink a week.

    If need be, seek help from an AA group — you aren’t alone in this. Change starts from today.

    7. Eating Junk Food (Including Diet Soda)

    Junk food — they are everywhere in our society today. From McDonald’s, to KFC, to Burger King, to 24-hour takeouts, junk food such as fries, highly processed burgers and sodas has become a staple in our society today.

    If you think, “Hey, but junk food is tasty!”, think again:

    A study by Paul Johnson and Paul Kenny suggests that junk food consumption alters brain activity in a way similar to addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin.[8]

    “After many weeks with unlimited access to junk food, the pleasure centers of rat brains became desensitized, requiring more food for pleasure.”

    And you wonder why you seem to crave fast food when you just had some the day before?

    While it may not be possible to remove junk food completely from our diet right away, we can reduce our junk food consumption starting today. Instead of soda, opt for a fruit juice (fresh juice, not the carbonated kind) or mineral water. Instead of fries, switch to mashed potato, a salad, or rice (many food outlets allow for this today). Instead of a fried meat patty, go for a grilled one.

    Where possible, opt for healthy food joints like salad bars and delis as opposed to fast food outlets. Every little step goes a long way.

    Here’re some healthy snacks ideas for you: 15 Healthy Snacks You Should Always Have At Home

    8. Eating Too Much Red Meat

    There has been conclusive evidence that consumption of red meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer; and suggestive evidence that it increases the risk of oesophageal cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and endometrial cancer.

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    In addition, some studies have linked consumption of large quantities of red meat with breast cancer, stomach cancer, lymphoma, bladder cancer, lung cancer and prostate cancer![9]

    Personally, I’m a vegetarian so I don’t consume red meat, but for those of you who consume red meat, do watch out and limit your intake — better still, cut it out of your diet. World Cancer Research Fund recommends limiting intake of red meat to less than 300g (11 oz) cooked weight per week, “very little, if any of which to be processed.”

    Of if you’re thinking about becoming a vegetarian, check out this guide: 5 Practical Tips For Starting a Vegetarian Lifestyle

    9. Watching Too Much TV

    I stopped watching TV since eight years ago and I have never regretted it. Every once in a while I will switch on the telly to see what is on, and then I will switch it off because it’s just the same boring shtick over and over again.

    Watching TV, particularly well-written dramas, can be a good way to unwind. However, remember that TV isn’t your life.

    Spending three hours every night watching TV will not change your life for the better. Rather, using that time to reflect on your life, take stock, and take action on your goals will.

    It’s not easy to remove TV from your daily routine right away, but follow these 6 Steps To Remove TV From Your Life.

    10. Being Late

    Not only is being late being rude to others, it also means that you’re always rushing from one place to another, playing catch up in your agenda, and having to apologize to every person you meet.

    Stop being late and not being punctual, but practice being early instead. Target to arrive 15 minutes earlier before any appointment and bring along something to do in those 15 minutes (or longer if the other person turns out to be late). Then you can stop playing catch up and stay ahead in life.

    Learn more tips about how to be more punctual here: How to Be On Time Every Time

    11. Being in Bad Relationships

    Are you always dating the wrong guys/girls? Do you end up with jerks all the time? Well, you may not be able to stop yourself from meeting bad partners but you can certainly stop yourself from furthering contact with them, spending time with them, or even… entering into a relationship with them.

    I used to invest myself in this guy who was nothing but toxic for me. After a good five months of experiencing nothing but getting burned over and over again, I realized that he was a total waste of my time and I deserved better. I decided to cut him off, and it was soon after that I met my soulmate.

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    Learn about why you shouldn’t stay in a bad relationship and how to deal with it if you’re in one: Why Trying Hard to Stay in an Unhappy Relationship Is Not Love, but Fear

    12. Leaving Things to the Last Minute

    Burning the midnight oil isn’t fun — it’s exhausting.

    Those of you who got through college by burning the midnight oil would have learned this the hard way. Not only is it damaging for your body, it is also mentally draining as you’re constantly in a hyper-tense mode, feeling anxious about whether you can finish your work on time.

    Start today on a new note. Rather than react to your deadlines, be proactive about them by planning ahead, identifying what needs to be done for the week, and getting things done in advance.

    By staying ahead of your tasks, you can also use your extra time to plan ahead in your life and get more things done.

    Take a look at this guide and learn how to stop procrastinating: Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

    13. Focusing on the Negatives

    In every situation, there are two ways you can react: zoom down to the problem areas and crib about how things aren’t the way you want, or celebrate the areas that are going well and work on making everything better.

    Many of us see the importance of doing the latter but in practice, we do the former. Why though? Criticizing and focusing on the negatives is easy but it doesn’t empower nor inspire us to be better.

    Make a change — for every negative encounter you run into, I challenge you to identify three things that are good about it. Practice doing this for one week, and by the end of the week you’ll find that your first instinct is to think positive, not negative.

    And here’re even more ways to help you stay positive: 11 Tips for Maintaining your Positive Attitude

    The Bottom Line

    So here you find the 13 most common bad habits and their consequences on your mind and body. The good news’ you can quit them all.

    Just spot out your own bad habits and take my suggestions to quit them. Then you’ll find your life a lot healthier and happier!

    Need more tips to break your bad habits? Check out these articles:

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

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