With more and more technological advances being made in the workforce, the majority of entrepreneurs today spend countless hours sitting at a desk or in front of a computer screen. Not only does this cause a change in your physical appearance, it has now been proven that sitting for extended periods can cause damage to your internal organs, can degenerate muscles, and even reduce your lifespan. Here, we will take an in-depth look at why entrepreneurs should exercise daily.
A recent study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed that individuals over the age of 25 shortened their lifespan by 22 minutes for each hour they spent sitting in front of a television. The researchers compared sitting to smoking, in that smoking has been shown to reduce life expectancy by 11 minutes per cigarette smoked.
It was discovered that adults who sit for 6 or more hours per day reduce their life expectancy by roughly 5 years. A similar study published by Obesity Panacea showed that even individuals who live fairly sedentary lifestyles can increase their life expectancy by 2 years if they could limit their sitting time to less than 3 hours per day.
Muscle and Tendon Degeneration
When the body is standing or moving, the abdominal muscles must relax and contract at various intervals in order to keep the body upright. When you sit, these muscles become relaxed. When they stay in this relaxed state for long periods, the abdominals can become weak.
This not only leads to a flabby appearance, but it places excess strain in the back which can lead to chronic back pain. Reducing the amount of time spent in front of a desk, coupled with regular back strengthening exercises to protect the spine, can help limit and even eliminate back pain.
As you age, sitting can cause the muscles in the hips become contracted, limiting your range of motion. Studies have shown that this decreased range of motion is the number one cause of falls in the elderly. It can also make walking long distances uncomfortable, as the hip flexors must work overtime to help steady the body and keep it moving.
Even the internal organs are punished by extensive sitting. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology showed that blood flow is slower in a sitting position, making it easy for fatty acids to deposit themselves in the arteries and capillaries of the heart. It was also shown that muscles burn fat at a much slower rate when sitting. These 2 issues can significantly increase an individual’s risk of developing heart disease.
Although the exact reasons could not be determined, researchers have also discovered that excessive sitting can increase the risk of developing colon, lung, and uterine cancers. It is thought that sitting can inhibit antioxidant production within the body, therefore increasing the amount of free radicals within the organs and bloodstream.
Building a career is time consuming, but there are several ways you can work more physical activities into your daily schedule. Setting a timer to go off every hour is a great way to remind yourself to stand and do a few stretches.
If possible, use a standing workstation for your computer. These special desks are proven to help improve posture and enhance overall health by greatly reducing the amount of time spent sitting. If you are unable to obtain one of these desks, try replacing your computer chair with a stability ball.
Using the stairs instead of the elevator, parking further away from the entrance of your building, and using your lunch break to take a walk are all ways to incorporate more movement in your day. By adding just a few minutes of activity to your daily routine and making a conscience effort to reduce your sitting time, you won’t only feel better, but will live longer as well.