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Updated 13 January 2020

The everyday habit that’s almost as bad as smoking

Some consider it a habit almost as bad as smoking, and it affects a much bigger proportion of the population than cigarettes do. Find out what sitting can do to your health.

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If you’re working in an office, it’s likely you’re sitting at your desk for at least 7 hours of the day. Public and private transport, entertainment like restaurants and cinemas, as well as our homes are geared towards us sitting for long stretches of time. It holds many people back from the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity a week. What’s more, it might be actively harming our health. 

Why it’s bad for you

The more we sit, the less we move. The body consumes energy in part through activity, which is divided between heart-rate-increasing exercise, like running, and everyday activity, like walking from the bedroom to the kitchen. A sedentary lifestyle no longer encourages your body to use up energy. Recent research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests how harmful sitting for more than 30 minutes at a time can be. It’s likely to lead to obesity, increasing the risk of numerous health issues, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and deep-vein thrombosis. 

When your large muscles are relaxed while sitting around, they take up less glucose from the blood, increasing your risk of getting type 2 diabetes.

Hours of sitting also tightens your hip flexor and hamstring muscles, leading to stiff joints and painful movement, and may even affect your balance. 

Get a move on

Much like quitting smoking is simple in theory but quite challenging in practice, sitting less and moving more in our everyday lives is not easy. But a few small changes to your daily habits might have a big impact on your health. Try these easy tricks to move more: 

  • Work in half-hour chunks and take 5-minute breaks in-between to walk around the office or outside; set an alarm or download an app to remind you
  • Swap your desk chair or TV couch for a stability ball – to keep your balance on the ball, your core muscles will constantly adjust
  • Take phone calls and chat to your colleagues standing up

Simplify health. Live better. 

Sitting is one of the worst habits for your health. Taking credit out on unnecessary items that lose their value over time is one of the worst decisions for your financial health. Before you swipe your credit card, ask yourself: Is this purchase going to outlive the time it will take me to repay it? If it isn’t, rather save up towards that cost instead – it’s a small change in mindset that will help you avoid falling into more and more debt.

For more inspiration to simplify your life, follow us on Instagram or sign up to receive our weekly newsletter.

This post and content is sponsored, written and provided by Capitec.


 
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