Do you spend long stretches of the day sitting down at work, or after work at home, or maybe both? Sitting watching the computer screen, or television, playing video games, or even reading? And do you think you might be overly anxious? If so, you should be aware of a research study published in the medical journal BMC Public Health, that suggests that prolonged sitting and anxiety are related.
We have written here before about other health problems that result from sitting too long. For example, people with colon cancer who sit more than 11 hours during the daytime have a 45% higher recurrence rate of their cancer than people who move more during the day. Other problems associated with sitting too long include diabetes, osteoporosis, and heart disease, as well as obesity.
And even people who are faithful about going to the gym—or at least exercising or walking briskly for 30 minutes or more per day— can undo all the good effects of their exercise if they spend most of their day sitting in one spot without getting up frequently.
Recent research is now connecting sitting too long to negative mental effects as well. The current research, coordinated by Deakin University Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research (Australia), statistically examined nine previous studies carried out from the 1990s until 2014, and found a strong association between anxiety and prolonged sitting in a majority of the studies.
The Australian researchers suggest the negative mental effects from sitting too long may result from the metabolic effects as well as possibly disrupting sleep patterns. They theorize that some of these sedentary people may be socially isolating themselves, which is known to have negative effects on physical as well as mental health.
If your job requires prolonged periods of sitting, do your best to, every half hour, get up and walk for a minute or so, or even just stand up and stretch if you can’t do that. And we suggest, after work, you take advantage of whatever green spaces you have, to take a walk in nature when you can. As we described in our last post, walking in an environment of grass and trees has wonderful healing effects for both your body and mind.
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