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Health 26 February 2017
By: Natasha Tanga

This is what happens to your body if you are a couch potato

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At this day and age, sitting is quite the norm for almost every person alive. We spend a good amount of time daily sitting on our desks to get work done. Afterwards, we will typically be sitting down again as we drive home. At home, we then watch TV or play video games while sitting. Count all those minutes up, and you will probably end up with a significant amount of hours spent sitting.

How does this affect your health, you ask? We’ve compile a list of risks you are imposing to your own health when you are too lazy to move:

1. Promotes obesity

Studies show that too much time spent for sitting in one day can contribute to metabolic disruptions, obesity, high blood sugar, among others. Of course, this also depends on what you are consuming while you are sitting. If your definition of zen is laying down while watching Netflix and munching a bag of caramel popcorn, you might want to reduce the frequency of that habit any time soon.

2. Increased risk of heart attack

While it is obvious that couch potatoes' slacking behavior causes their heart rate to go slower than your normal, active beings, their incorrect posture also causes slouching, and can cause a myriad of problems, including cardiovascular problems. In fact, people who sit for a prolonged period of time each day is at risk for 54% more chance of having a heart attack then the people who doesn't spend so much time sitting.

3. Your brain takes the fall

Researchers found that young people who spend a lot of time sitting while watching TV are most likely going to be associated with worse cognitive performance in their midlife. It is also linked to be triggering mental health problems, such as anxiety attacks and depression. You might want to rethink on your sluggish habits, as its consequences are pretty staggering in effect. 

So then, what steps can you take to improve your lifestyle? Below, we list a number of simple ways to switch up your life towards the better:  

1. Consider the type of chair you are using

You may find some opinions on the internet that you should use standing desks to work. This might or might not be an option, but then, if your office doesn't have one, the simplest thing is to reconsider what type of chair your are using and how it can support your posture, in order to promote good posture for your body. Studies show that having a good posture can benefit you in a number of ways, such as reducing back and neck pain, as well as burning more calories.  

2. Stretch every now and then

It is recommended to interrupt your seating every hour and do a little exercise like lunges or simply just stretch your body. This is beneficial to loosen your joints and relieve muscle tensions caused by sitting.

3. Take every chance you get to move

Yes, you heard it right. Take the stairs instead of using the lift. Bike to work. Use the public transport. Park farther than your usual parking spot. Use every chance to walk and implement more exercise to your daily life. Even better, you can use pedometer to measure how many steps you have taken during the day.

4. Walk around your workplace

While you might not get a lot of work done by walking around when you need to get a report done, there are plenty of other chances to sneakily keep yourself active in the office. Instead of scooting over, why not try getting up of your seat and take that file on the cupboard. Walk to your colleague's desk to ask him/her something instead of using your email, or even walking while making a phone call. Any valid reason to keep you moving would do!

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