Many of us may have heard the saying, “sitting is the new smoking.” As a student, an automatic reaction to hearing this is worry.
Pentucket High School Junior Lauren Ward says, “It clearly concerns me because we sit most of the day. We don’t have a lot of opportunity to move”. Students at Pentucket sit from 7:35am to 2:15pm, minus the three minutes we get to get to our next class between periods.
This means almost seven hours of sitting each day Monday through Friday. According to Today, sitting becomes dangerous when it goes beyond 10 hours a day. The problem with this is that we sit for seven hours a day at school not including doing homework, eating dinner, riding in the car or watching television. It is easy to see how much sitting one does without realizing it.
But how much of a concern is sitting too much? We can only know this by understanding how our body acts internally from sitting. According to Peak Fitness, poor circulation and a slower metabolism is known to be present when one is sitting slowing of blood flow causes a lesser amount of new blood and oxygen circulating through the brain and this slows down the release of chemicals. In a seated position, the digestive system is compressed which slows down internal processes necessary for digestion.
Regarding posture, the spine is put under more pressure when one is sitting over standing, particularly when one is hunched (such as over a computer or school work). One’s spine is made up of disks which absorb blood and nutrients. In order to do their job, they expand and contract; however, sitting compresses the disks and in doing so, slows down this absorption through loss of flexibility.
Well, how do we solve this? Regarding sitting in classrooms, it is beneficial to stand up or walk around for a short period of time every thirty minutes. In addition, any sort of physical activity everyday for at least 30 minutes will make a difference. One can begin noticing opportunities to stand rather than sit, such as while watching television or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Even parking farther out in the parking lot will initiate more activity. Once one becomes aware of how much he is sitting, it becomes easier to recognize when it’s possible to get up to walk or even just stand for a few extra minutes.