An inactive lifestyle caused by long hours of sitting say for instance at a desk with little or no exercise gives birth to lifestyle diseases.
A lot goes wrong in the human body when it is subjected to a sedentary life. Dr Emmanuel Nakabago, an orthopedic at Kisa Ortho-Health Centre, explains.
“Back pain is a result of piling pressure on the back,” Dr Nakabago says, “When a person is standing, weight is distributed uniformly around the body. Lack of exercise or sitting for long hours makes the upper body heavier. This causes imbalance in the knees resulting in back and knee joint pain making walking difficult.”
Dr Nakabago explains that the five lumbar bones which make up the lower back around the waist take a heavy load when a person sits.
The lower back supports most of the weight from the upper body parts including the arms, shoulders, head, chest and neck.
Long hours of sitting cause the muscles, disks and nerves in the lumbar area of the back to become strained resulting into imbalance.
This can be exacerbated by poor sitting postures. This leads to a strain on the spinal discs speeding up the wear and tear of the discs also causing back pain and paralysis.
Knee joint pain
Dr Nakabago says stationing knees in one area through bending while sitting for longer periods causes numbness in tissues and nerves around the knee area resulting into pain.
Paralysis in legs
Dr Nakabago says long hours of sitting interferes with blood circulation from the leg muscles or calves to the heart to make a full cycle around the body.
This leads to heavy concentration of blood and water around the leg muscles or calves leading to swelling. The swelling is caused by the body cell suffocation of cells due to low oxygen. This condition is called edema.
The condition also leads to blockage of the nervous system as a result of heavy concentration of blood in one area leading to paralysis.
“The part of paralysis depends on the blockage of the nerves or nerve compression. For instance, if a blood vessel is blocked at the knee joint, the leg muscles or calves are cut off from blood supply also leading to paralysis,” he observes
Long of hours of sitting while bending towards the computer piles pressure on chest muscles as they support the head and the neck while someone is seated.
Dr Tamale explains that physical inactivity results into accumulation of fat in the body especially under the skin because they cannot easily be broken down. Some fats accumulate around blood vessels leading to clogging and difficulty in blood circulation around the body. The heart is overworked to pump blood at high rate than normal resulting high blood pressure.
“Sometimes fats cause clogging of blood vessels resulting into blood clots that could block blood and oxygen from circulating to the heart leading to heart attack and ultimately death.”
Narrowed blood vessels as a result of accumulated fats can lead to chest pain. This is because the heart is deprived from getting enough blood.
“High sugar levels are a poison to the liver. This is because if the liver fails to breakdown excess sugar consumed. It is metabolised into fat and released into the blood stream as fat,” he says, adding that, “However, excess loads of sugar and cholesterol could strain the liver resulting to liver failure.”
Dr Tamale says high levels sugars in the body acts as food for cancer cells resulting into quick multiplication.
Children who spend long hours on visuals such as video games and watching cartoons are prone to epileptic attacks.
Dr Nakabago shares a few tips for people on beating a sedentary lifestyle.
People who sit for long hours should look at how the chair supports them. If the chair is straight; sit in a straight manner. Do not slouch.
Take breaks. It is important that one sits for an hour and moves around or stretches. Stretching of the back is important. Don’t sit for two to three hours without takingh a break.
Sleeping position. The right way of sleeping is to sleep on one side while positioning the knees towards the chest to avoid back pain issues.
After leaving the bed, do full body stretches. This helps prepare the muscles for activity during the day.