Replacing even 30 minutes of sitting time with physical activity can prevent several health issues

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine Comments Off

Prolonged sitting can cause lifelong cervical pain apart from non-communicable diseases

New Delhi, 16 January 2019: People who wish to live longer must reduce their sitting time and replace it with just 30 minutes of physical activity, according to findings of a recent study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. The results highlight the importance of movement – regardless of its intensity or amount of time spent moving – for better health. Studies indicate that about one in four adults spends more than eight hours a day sitting.

Adults who sat for long stretches at a time – an hour or more without interruption – had a greater risk of early death than those who were sedentary for the same total amount of time but got up and moved around more often. Thus, even short bursts of activity – of just a minute or two – can provide health benefits.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Modern and advanced technology has certainly made life easy and convenient for us – online shopping, online payments, accessing information, etc., all of which can be done from the comfort of our homes. What technology has done all of this at the cost of our health; we are less physically active now – sitting at a desk for a long time working on the computer, using social media on smart phones, watching TV or sitting in a meeting, all these activities promote sedentary behavior. The benefits of exercise on physical health as well as mental health are well-established and know to us all. But, the level of physical activity among all age groups has decreased, either due to lack of initiative or lack of safe open spaces. A heavy work schedule is often a deterrent to physical activity for many of us.”

Replacing just 30 minutes of sitting with low-intensity physical activity may lower the risk of early death by 17%, a statistically significant decrease. Swapping the same amount of sitting for moderate to vigorous activity would be twice as effective, cutting the risk of early death by 35%.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “Sitting continuously for more than four hours in a day is also harmful to the spine and back. If not addressed on time, this can further cause permanent damage to the cervical spine causing lifelong pain. If you experience fatigue or pain when you wake up in the morning or after you’ve been sitting at your desk for a couple of hours, it may be an indication that your posture is not right.”

Some tips from HCFI

  • Take the stairs as often as possible.
  • Get off the bus one stop early and walk the rest of the way.
  • Have “walk-meetings” instead of “sit-in” meetings.
  • Walk to the nearby shops instead of driving.
  • Stand up and walk while talking on the phone.
  • Walk down to speak to your colleague instead of using the intercom/phone.
  • Walk around your building for a break during the work day or during lunch.
  • Buy a pedometer.

The approaching Lok Sabha elections and Uttarayana

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As per Vedic knowledge, there are two seasons in the country: Uttarayana and Dakshinayana.

Uttarayana is from mid-January (starts from Makar Sakranti, which falls on the 14th of January every year) to mid-July. Dakshinayana starts when Uttarayana ends i.e. from mid-July to mid-January.

Dakshinayana is characterized by longer nights and shorter days. In Uttarayana, the sun moves towards the north and days are longer. As per the “Puranas”, Dakshinayana is the night of the deities whereas Uttarayana is their day.

Medically, Uttarayana is a period of positive thinking and Dakshinayana is a period of negative thinking. In Uttarayana, the blood levels of serotonin are high and in Dakshinayana, blood levels of melatonin are high.

General elections for the Lok Sabha are due to be held this year.

Fortunately, the elections will be taking place in Uttarayana, where the collective consciousness of the people will be in a positive state of mind.If elections are held in Dakshinayana period with a negative state of mind of the collective consciousness of the people, the tone of campaigning too is negative and is rife with mudslinging, especially in the electronic media. Such negative campaigning serves no purpose and the country gains nothing by it.

Hopefully, we will see a lot of spirituality in these elections and that more and more number of people will participate and vote with a positive state of mind and thinking.These Uttarayana elections will be fought on a positive note favoring a group who can deliver.I personally feel that negative campaigning in the period of Uttarayana will not succeed and similar trends will also be observed in the electronic media.

Dr KK Aggarwal

Padma Shri Awardee

President Elect Confederation of Medical Associations in Asia and Oceania (CMAAO)

Group Editor-in-Chief IJCP Publications

President Heart Care Foundation of India

Past National President IMA