Why you should sit less and move more
Why you should sit less and move more

A staggering 12 million Australian adults – or nearly 70 per cent of us – are either sedentary or have low levels of physical activity, according to the Department of Health. Being physically inactive can have a number of serious health effects. Here’s a rundown on what sitting too much can do to your body – and what you can do to change your lifestyle.

Muscle and joint pain
Posture-related injuries in the back, neck and shoulders are common for people who sit for long periods of time. Sitting uses fewer muscles than standing or moving around, but the work your body does to hold limbs still, coupled with reduced blood circulation, can cause muscle fatigue, stiffness and pain.

What you can do 

  • Sit at an adjustable desk specially designed for use with computers and set your keyboard and chair up so that you reduce muscle strain.
  • Take frequent short breaks and go for a walk, or do stretching exercises at your desk.
  • Try standing for some of your work activities: stand up when on phone calls or doing some filing – don’t miss an opportunity!
  • If you do develop muscle aches, don’t ignore them, as you can end up straining muscles elsewhere as your body tries to compensate for the pain. A topical anti-inflammatory, such as Nurofen Gel applied directly on the skin


Bone density and osteoporosis
A sedentary or inactive lifestyle can increase your rate of bone loss and raise the risk of getting osteoporosis later in life. Eating well and staying active helps protect you against osteoporosis.

What you can do 

  • Stick to a balanced diet with a variety of fruits, vegetables and wholegrains and plenty of calcium-rich foods to support bones.
  • Be moderate in your consumption of alcohol and caffeine.
  • Don’t smoke as it decreases your bone density.
  • Do some weight-bearing aerobic exercises on a regular basis. Maybe now is the time to take up dancing! Non weight-bearing exercises like swimming are good for overall health but they don’t support healthy bone growth.
  • Try some resistance training using free weights, such as dumbbells and barbells, elastic band resistance, body-weight resistance or weight-training machines.
  • Look at improving your posture, balance and body strength through practices such as tai chi or yoga


High blood pressure and cardiovascular disease

Several studies have shown that an inactive lifestyle is associated with obesity and 

type 2 diabetes, which are known to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. 

What you can do
In the USA, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention suggests:

Eat a healthy diet, with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and low amounts of unsaturated fats and salt.

Maintain a healthy weight Being overweight or obese can increase your risk of heart disease.

Exercise regularly Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower your cholesterol and blood pressure.

Don't smoke Smoking greatly increases your risk for heart disease.

Go easy on alcohol Excessive alcohol can cause high blood pressure, so moderate the amount you drink.

Weight gain
Being overweight increases your risk of developing health problems, including stroke, cancer, liver and gallbladder disease.

What you can do

  • Increase the amount of exercise you get. Australia’s National Physical Activity Guidelines recommends that adults do at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity five times a week. Moderate exercise should mean you can talk, but not sing the words to your favourite song.
  • Limit time spent watching television, using the computer and sitting at work – try walking on your lunch break or to and from work.
  • Make sure you have a nutritionally balanced diet, limiting the amount of added sugars and fats you eat  

LIVE WELL RECOMMENDS

Nurofen Gel
Nurofen Gel is gently rubbed into the skin for the temporary relief of pain and inflammation associated with acute soft tissue injuries including sprains, strains and sports injuries. Always read the label. Use only as directed. Incorrect use could be harmful. If symptoms persist, see your healthcare professional.