How to break away from a Sedentary Lifestyle to fight Diabetes

How to break away from a Sedentary Lifestyle to fight Diabetes

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 intervention.


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, a 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.

Sit and Stand

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 health 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?


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  • author's avatar

    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.

  • author's avatar

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.

  • 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 ;)

  • 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.

  • A great post on World Diabetes Day.

  • 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…

  • A much needed post for today, Somali. Though it might be difficult to suddenly change our lifestyle, we need to start by incorporating small changes towards better living.

  • Very apt post for the day, Somali. True is sometimes sheer laziness that you find it hard to kick yourself and start exercising… but slowly introducing the exercises and daily walks will help anyone to stay fit. The suggested small changes in the daily routine are a great way to start working on your health.

  • Such an informative piece on how a sedentary lifestyle can be detrimental to our health. You are so right in saying that for a lot of us, we live our lives mainly sitting down. Over 415 million people with diabetes is a lot. Personally I reckon sometimes we get these kinds of diseases because of poor choice or we simply become complacent with our comfortable lifestyle.

    I’ve never been one for moving much until recently, and am finding long walks an enjoyable form of exercise. Hoping to keep it up regularly each month. But you are also so right in saying that exercise for just one part of the day may not decrease the risks of certain diseases over time, so as also just limiting our diet. Sometimes our bodies need to be conditioned to just keep going, to keep active and as such, functioning. I don’t believing in dieting to live a healthier lifestyle, but more of portion control: I let myself eat anything so long as it’s a small portion :D

  • Somali so well articulated topic with solid backup of researched stuff, and the quotes of experts from Mayo Clinic to others who have beautifully put the warning in such few words and with so much intensity we just cannot ignore the messaging. Yes, it is so happening that we are stuck to our seat, workplace to watching TV back home everything has put us in sitting posture unless and until we take that conscious decision to wake up and walk the distance for things that can otherwise we are doing virtually, text messaging to emailing we are hooked and we are allowing the fats and the negatives to work on us. The body has limitation only when we stuff with things that are unnatural hence the fast food to the processed food are taking away the natural healing capabilities of our body.

    We are leading a lifestyle that is setting the life in total disarray and we are solely to blame for the aliments that are growing on us, we need the break that style and focus on the real stuff, the work out, the walking, the exercise of the body that matters more than the mental exercise we are madly locked. By the way Hyderabad is said to be the diabetic capital of India, must be something to do with the food habits.

    Diabetes is purely a lifestyle disease and we invite the problem knowing well that it is totally in our hand and it comes only when we allow it, and we do so when stop doing things and start look at the health problem from a glass window. We need to break the glass ceiling and start making a difference in the way we have been living our life and the way we have eating stuff that come our way, we all love lovely food and food is a big weakness we are trapped, we need to disconnect from that connection of taste and give our tongue a new twist so that we are in control of our food and the habit that we need to change in this new age of working…

    You know I love walking, given a chance I will do everything while walking, sounds bit crazy and I have made it a habit of walking in the office and I invariable spend half the time walking around the office and with the team, and I enjoy that way of working. Only it is when back in home and blogging that I get stuck and as suggest I can do the way you suggested. Thanks for sharing such a useful post and how we need to keep our life in control by changing the contours of our style of living.

    Hope you are having a lovely Sunday.

  • Thanks Nihar. I did not know that Hyderabad is said to be the diabetic capital of India. With the shift in the nature of work we do, our lifestyle has changed and this has increased the occurrence of lifestyle diseases. Controlling the food habits, walking, standing up after every half an hour, moving the limbs are a few things that we consciously need to imbibe in our schedule.

  • So true! Its the small things that make a lifestyle and they make the difference. As a Type 1 diabetic I decided to change my lifestyle and choose more health. I wish people would apply these small tips so they don’t have to suffer like that and come to a place where their body can’t take it anymore.
    That’s why I share in my blog what I learn and try to encourage people to make healthier choices.. its if you want to check it out!
    Thanks for researching and sharing!

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