Cancer can be viewed as a disease that is destructive and hard to contain. The phrase “sitting is new cancer” compares sitting to a disease or destructive practice. The main concern here is the health risks of an over-sedentary lifestyle, which involves spending too much time seating. With advancements in technology, more and more jobs are becoming less physical. Although inevitable, we should limit the amount of time we are seated for as much as possible.
Sitting increases the risk of developing major diseases such as; cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes, and obesity. It also increases the chances of developing certain types of cancer increases. Sitting for too long has even been linked with depression in women. People leading sedentary lifestyles are more than twice likely to have diabetes than those who are active throughout the day. It is even riskier than what people are eating high quantities of sugar face. Furthermore, sitting puts strain on your spinal cord hence limiting space for the lungs to expand fully. That leads to less blood circulation throughout the body. The brain is therefore deprived of enough oxygen, leading to loss of concentration. The World Health Organization notes that; inactivity of the human body is the fourth-leading risk factor for global mortality, behind high blood pressure, tobacco use and high blood glucose, causing approximately three million deaths a year.
Just like working out doesn’t interfere the effects of smoking, this is also similar to the negative effects of sitting down for many hours. Other physical activities such as regular jogging should not therefore be used as an excuse for sitting too long. Prudent measures, therefore, have to be taken to save oneself from this ‘cancer’. First, if you have a desk-based job, remember to get up and take a stroll for at least five minutes each hour. That keeps blood pumping to regain your concentration and give your body and mind time to reboot. Taking a lot of water is also important in keeping you active and alert.
At the workplace, there are creative ways of dealing with the ‘sitting disease’. The desk treadmill is one such case. As the name suggests, it’s a working desk with a treadmill beneath, so you work during ‘taking a stroll’. That is not only good for your health, but it also makes you smarter, studies reveal. It improves your cognitive performance when walking at your preferred speed as opposed to sitting. You can also rearrange the office to encourage employees be more physically active. That may involve moving trash cans out of cubicles to make people walk to throw out the garbage; or relocating water coolers. Instead of shooting an email to a coworker downstairs, you could walk and ask them face to face. A manager said that: “If you book a room for half an hour with people sitting around a table you will use up the whole half-hour”. Have that same meeting standing and you’ll be done in 10 minutes”. Standing meetings and standing desks are also a good way of keeping healthy and at the same time saving on time.
All in all, a sedentary lifestyle is hazardous and has long-term implications for one’s physical and mental well-being. Prudent measures have to be taken at a personal level and at the workplace to ensure we do not catch this deadly cancer.