There is growing evidence that prolonged sitting is harmful to your health, but if you have an office job, how can you reduce the effects of sitting?
When we sit or even lay down for long periods, it slows down blood circulation, which has harmful effects on the body. To use a car as an analogy, if gasoline doesn’t travel throughout, then the car will not function. Well, blood to the body is like gasoline to a car – if it isn’t circulating properly, you can’t function properly.
Therefore, you should optimize your sitting time by performing simple leg exercises that can boost circulation and reduce your risk of health complications.
Two recent studies have highlighted not only the negative effects of prolonged sitting and laying down but also the benefits that exercise can have on negating these effects.
The first study found that sitting for just 10 minutes was enough to reduce blood flow to the legs and impair small blood vessel function in the leg muscles. This reduction is also seen when lying down.
For the study, the researchers used a Doppler ultrasound technique alongside the knee to measure blood flow and examine the extent that blood vessels widened among 18 young and healthy male participants. Measurements were taken prior to sitting or laying down, with or without leg exercises.
The results indicated that 10 minutes was enough to reduce blood circulation, but it did not affect blood vessel widening.
Exercise was found to help maintain rapid increases in blood supply to the legs.
Because the researchers only tested males, it’s unclear if the results translate to women as well. Also, different age groups may be affected differently by prolonged sitting or lying. Additional research is required to determine these findings.
Study author Dr. Paul Fadel concluded, “These findings further our understanding of the negative impact of inactivity on blood vessel function and demonstrate the positive effects of simple leg exercises whilst lying down providing further insight into how inactivity affects the vascular health of the lower legs.”
It’s important that you take frequent breaks from sitting or lying down to promote blood circulation and reduce the risk of complications.
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