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How Prolonged Sitting Affects Our Health and Cognitive Function: The perils of prolonged sitting.


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Don’t sit still - Breaking the Sedentary Cycle.

You Can Avoid the Perils of Prolonged Sitting.

 

Blog Post Series 5: Sweat Smart - Supercharge the Brain Power.


Sitting at the same posture can harm you. Do these now. - Reserchers pointed out the perils of prolonged sitting to our Creativity, Productivity, and Alertness.

 



Hi there,

 


It’s that time of year again - the American football season is in full swing, and fans are spending long hours riveted in front of their TVs, immersed in the excitement of the game. Similarly, many of us find ourselves chained to our desks, working tirelessly, only to transition to more sitting as we unwind with our favorite shows in the evening. I'm no stranger to this routine myself, currently typing away at my blog with the all-too-familiar twinge of backache setting in. Ouch! This widespread scenario of prolonged sitting is more than just a comfort habit; it poses significant risks to our physical health and cognitive functions.



While our cozy chairs might offer temporary solace, the need for movement and mental stimulation is paramount. The silver lining? Introducing multimodal exercises into our daily routines can be a game-changer, breaking the monotony of a sedentary lifestyle and significantly boosting our productivity and brain power. Let’s dive into the transformative power of this approach.

 



The Perils of Prolonged Sitting:

 


The modern lifestyle, marked by extended periods of sitting, has become a norm for many. From office work to leisure activities, we're increasingly leading sedentary lives. This constant sitting not only affects our physical health, leading to issues like back pain and a higher risk of chronic diseases, but also impacts our mental well-being and cognitive abilities. The lack of physical activity can result in decreased alertness, diminished creativity, and a slower cognitive process.

 


In our increasingly sedentary world, the impact of prolonged sitting on health and cognitive function has become a crucial area of study. A recent groundbreaking study published on November 9, 2023, in the Journal of Applied Physiology investigates this very issue. The study, titled "Effects of intermittent exercise during prolonged sitting on executive function, cerebrovascular and psychological response," offers intriguing insights into how simple physical activities can mitigate the negative effects of prolonged sitting.

 



Key Findings of The Perils of Prolonged Sitting



1. Improved Response Times: The exercise group showed a 3.5% faster response in the CWST, contrasting with a 4.2% slower response in the control group after 3 hours of sitting.

2. Better Completion Times: In the TMT-B, completion times were 10.0% faster in the exercise group, whereas they were 8.8% slower in the control group.

3. Increased Concentration and Reduced Fatigue: The exercise group experienced less decrease in concentration (-9.2% compared to -28.7% in the control) and a lower increase in mental fatigue (157% compared to 285% in the control).

4. Potential Role of Blood Flow: Changes in ICA blood flow, which showed a significant interaction effect, might relate to these cognitive improvements.



Then, Apply What Scientists are saying:


 

1. Improved Response Times:


   - Application: To incorporate this finding into daily life, try integrating short bursts of exercise throughout your workday. For example, if you're working at a desk, stand up and do a quick set of exercises, like squats or stretches, every 20-30 minutes. This practice can help keep your mind sharp and responsive, especially during long periods of sedentary work.


 

2. Better Completion Times, that suggest that we can enhance cognitive processing speed.


   - Application: This can be applied by incorporating similar intermittent exercises in your routine. For instance, during a study session or while working on a project, take brief exercise breaks to boost your brain's processing speed, potentially leading to more efficient work or study sessions.

 


3. Increased Concentration and Reduced Fatigue, Keep us focus longer:


   - Application: To apply this, consider short, periodic physical activities during your day. This could be as simple as walking around your office or home, doing some light stretching, or even a few minutes of yoga. These activities can help sustain your concentration levels and fight off fatigue during long tasks.

 


4. Potential Role of Blood Flow:


   - Application: Engage in activities that promote good circulation. Apart from intermittent exercises, maintaining overall cardiovascular fitness through regular exercise (like walking, jogging, or cycling) can help. Also, consider posture and ergonomics that promote better circulation, such as using a standing desk or taking the stairs.



 

More Practical Methods: Alternative choices to break Sit Still!



Certainly, there are alternative methods to intermittent squats for enhancing cognitive performance during prolonged periods of sitting. These alternatives can be easily integrated into various settings, such as an office environment or while studying. Here are some practical and effective options:

 


1. Brief Walks: Take short, brisk walks, even if it's just around your office, home, or up and down a hallway. A few minutes of walking every hour can stimulate circulation and provide a mental refresh.

 


2. Stretching Exercises: Perform simple stretching exercises at your desk. Shoulder shrugs, neck rolls, arm stretches, and leg extensions are all easy to do in a confined space and can help improve blood flow.

 


3. Seated Leg Lifts: While sitting, extend your legs straight out and hold for a few seconds, then lower them back to the ground. This can be done discreetly under a desk and helps in activating leg muscles.

 


4. Desk Push-Ups: Stand up and place your hands on the edge of your desk. Step your feet back to make a diagonal line with your body, then perform push-ups against the desk. This can strengthen upper body muscles and increase heart rate.

 


5. Chair Squats: Instead of standing squats, you can perform chair squats. Stand up from your chair, lower your body back down, stopping right before you sit back down. This is less conspicuous than full squats but still effective.

 


6. Breathing Exercises: Practice deep breathing or mindfulness meditation for a few minutes. This can reduce stress and increase oxygen flow to the brain, potentially enhancing cognitive function.

 


7. Hand and Finger Exercises: Simple hand and finger stretches can improve circulation and can be a subtle way to stay active.

 


8. Eye Exercises: Practice eye exercises by looking away from your computer screen every 20 minutes and focusing on a distant object for 20 seconds. This can help reduce eye strain and mental fatigue.


 

9. Dynamic Sitting: Use a stability ball as a chair or invest in an active sitting chair that encourages movement. These seating options can help engage your core and improve posture.


 

10. Desk Yoga: There are various yoga poses and stretches specifically designed to be done at a desk. These can include spinal twists, seated crescent moon, and desk downward dog.


 

Remember, the key is to break up long periods of sitting with some form of physical activity, no matter how light. These activities not only help in maintaining physical health but also play a significant role in keeping your mind sharp and focused.

 

 


Conclusion:



This study underscores the importance of incorporating physical movement into our daily routines, especially when faced with prolonged sitting. Such simple strategies not only benefit our physical health but also play a crucial role in maintaining cognitive sharpness. As more research emerges in this field and points out the perils of prolonged sitting, it becomes increasingly clear that the interplay between physical activity and brain health is a critical component of overall well-being.



 Here's to a fit body and a sharp mind, at any age! 🌟🧠💪

Health Coach Meg



References:

- Horiuchi, M., Pomeroy, A., Horiuchi, Y., Stone, K., & Stoner, L. (2023). Effects of intermittent exercise during prolonged sitting on executive function, cerebrovascular and psychological response: A randomized cross-over trial. Journal of Applied Physiology. DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00437.2023.

 



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To conclude this insightful journey into enhancing both our physical and mental well-being, remember that taking the first step towards a healthier lifestyle can be both exciting and transformative. As your dedicated health coach, I am here to guide you in seamlessly integrating exercise routines that not only build your body but also enhance your brain function. Together, we can work on improving your sleep quality and making meaningful lifestyle modifications tailored to your unique needs.

 

Don't let another moment slip by without taking action to boost your brain health and overall wellness. Reach out to us now, and embark on a journey towards embracing a new standard of fitness and mental agility that aligns beautifully with your age and lifestyle. Let's work together to make these crucial changes that will not just benefit you today, but also safeguard your health for the future. Contact us, and let's start this journey to a fitter, sharper you!

 


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Next Blog Teaser:

Stay tuned for next blog about sitting. Boost Cognitive power while unavoidable sedentary cycle.

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