How to break away from a Sedentary Lifestyle to fight Diabetes

Sedentary lifestyle is a global health problem

A sedentary lifestyle can make us a sitting duck for a host of diseases. 

On an average day, it is a norm to sit down for most of the time when we are awake. We are tied to our desks when we are working.  We sit for the meetings. We also sit while commuting. We take the weight off our feet while relaxing at home. We slouch in front of our computer screen. We sit while watching TV.

But, just as standing for too long can get us tired, sitting for prolonged periods ‘can damage our body.

Studies indicate that when we sit for long periods, our blood circulation is constricted. It can cause the blood to clot in the legs and prevent it from effectively flowing to the heart, which is a precursor to cardiovascular problems.

The World Health Organization has identified a sedentary lifestyle as a global health problem and one of the 10 leading causes of death and disability.

World Diabetes Day is observed on 14th November every year

Modern lifestyles characterized by physical inactivity and long sedentary periods, consumption of processed food has been identified as one of the key factors that influence the development of Type2 diabetes.

The increasing occurrences of Diabetes all over the world has posed a growing health challenge. Diabetes is known to be a leading cause of kidney failure, and it also increases the risks of loss of vision, heart attacks, strokes and lower limb amputations. It is a chronic disease characterized by high levels of blood glucose. Diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin (a hormone that regulates blood glucose) or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces.

More than 400 million people are living with diabetes in 2017.

World Diabetes Day

There are two main types of diabetes – Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes do not produce enough insulin on their own and must take injections of insulin to survive. Type 1 can be caused by a genetic disorder. Type 2 diabetes, which comprises 90% of cases, is largely caused by excess body weight, sedentary lifestyle and physical inactivity.

Up to 70% of cases of Type 2 diabetes could be prevented through Lifestyle interaction.

 

Lifestyle changes can help to control Type 2 diabetes

Type2 Diabetes Prevention

A 30-minute increase in moderate physical activity throughout the day has substantial benefits for fitness and long-term health. Every session of physical activity can help improve a person’s ability to use insulin.

Exercise alone may not be not enough!

Only a work out in the morning may not be enough to counter the health risks of sitting for eight hours. Even those who exercise also face an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes if they are otherwise sedentary.

‘Sitting Is the New Smoking.’

This phrase was coined by Dr James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic at Arizona State University. Studies have correlated chronic sitting in the same position with little or no movement for 60-90 minutes or more at a time with an increased risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

To keep insulin working effectively, regular physical movement is needed.

  Also Read: Resolution to walk my way to a Healthy Lifestyle

Switch between sitting and standing at work

According to Dr Alan Hedge, a professor of ergonomics at Cornell University, the healthiest way to work is by juggling between sitting and standing in your daily schedule

“Sitting all day and standing all day both are bad for you.

The trick is to sit for 20 minutes, stand for eight, then move around and stretch for two minutes,” says Dr Hedge.

Here are a few ways in which you can incorporate movement into your daily schedule.

  • Break up your sitting regimen with five-minute walking breaks.
  • Wiggle around in the chair, jiggle your feet and stretch yourself when you are sitting for long. Some studies suggest that small fidgeting movements have health benefits. So, fidgeting, though frowned upon, may help to counteract to some extent the ill effects of excessive sitting.
  • Walk around the house or your workplace a little more.
  • Consider having a few standing desks at the workplace to alternate between standing and sitting.
  • Use a whiteboard or a flipchart instead of a pen and paper or a keyboard.
  • Walk down to speak with a co-worker instead of sending a text, calling or emailing them. Walk while talking on the phone.
  • Take stairs instead of the elevator whenever you can.
  • Track your daily activity with a fitness app or a wearable device.

These activities don’t take up a lot of time, they’re not difficult to do, and will still help you to integrate movement into your daily schedule.

Movement is good for and lack of movement leads to disease.  ~ Dr MC Shraefel

Finally, here’s a bit of humblebrag. I wrote this piece standing up for half the time. Why don’t you take a short walking break now?

References:

https://www.idf.org/about-diabetes/what-is-diabetes.html

http://www.worlddiabetesday.org/resources/infographics.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21502894

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    By: Somali K Chakrabarti

    Hi there! Welcome to Scribble and Scrawl! Here, I delve into themes related to positive lifestyle – from making smart-living choices, savvy financial decisions to nurturing the mind, body and soul. I share my travel experiences, explore facets of art and culture and highlight inspiring stories. Hope you enjoy reading my posts.

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11 thoughts on “How to break away from a Sedentary Lifestyle to fight Diabetes

  • November 14, 2017 at 7:56 pm
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    Great advice! I do see more and more people with standing workstations which is really taking off. I f the ‘company’ will support it. Myself I have a 3 year old and 6 month old twins…no such thing as being idle…sooo…my conclusion…have more kids 😉

    Reply
  • November 15, 2017 at 5:47 am
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    True. Sedentary lifestyle is very dangerous. Coupled with fatty food, it is becoming a killer. Most of us do not exercise. May be lazy. May be busy. Overall consequence is diabetes, blood pressure, dyslipidemia, obesity and heart attack. Add joint problems also.

    Reply
    • November 15, 2017 at 7:35 am
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      Thank you, sir. It is more of laziness and aversion to exercise that we avoid it. Maybe if we keep the consequences in mind, we can motivate ourselves to move more.

      Reply
  • November 15, 2017 at 6:19 am
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    A great post on World Diabetes Day.

    Reply
  • November 16, 2017 at 6:59 pm
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    It’s difficult to change our lifestyle all of a sudden but we can certainly switch between standing and sitting. Even a brisk walk or avoiding the lift can also yield good results.Diabetes is spreading thick and fast among all age group of people. It’s important that we should know about and try to avoid it…

    Reply
    • November 17, 2017 at 7:16 am
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      Very true Maniparna, I also find that small activities can be more easily integrated into the daily schedule than trying to make major changes, I wrote this mainly as a reminder to myself to stand up and walk after sitting down for half an hour or so,

      Reply

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