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Sitting: The Reason for Weight Gain

Obesity Related Statistics


Obesity is becoming a worldwide problem. Within the UK alone 36% of the population are overweight and a further 28% of the population are obese (House of Commons, 2021). With the rate of obesity increasing on an annual basis, this is going to create serious problems for our National Health Service if we do not intervene soon.


In the years 2019/2020 over 1 million hospital admissions were directly attributed to obesity. Meaning that their weight directly related to the reason for admission (NHS, 2021). These statistics are frightening, as each year our population grows and so does the rate of obesity (NHS, 2021).


There are many theories as to why our population is becoming more overweight. Is it the abundance of food? Just because our population is increasing at an alarming rate? Or due to changes in lifestyle? Has technology made it easier for us to become even lazier?


Since the pandemic, many of the office based workers are now working from home more often than not. What this doesn't then add in to your day is the movement that is involved getting to and from the office. You may not think this accounts for much but I can assure you it will be a hell of a lot more than what you would do if you just move from your bed to your desk.

Sitting Risk Factors


Sitting for majority of the day does come with many health risks. The first one is weight gain. You are moving less, which can lead you to require less energy. Often this doesn't naturally come with less caloric intake, resulting in an energy balance towards storing energy. With obesity comes a variety of other health concerns such as diabetes, which is not related to your sugar intake but more to your overall nutritional health, activity levels and wellbeing. A higher risk of Cardiovascular disease caused by fatty deposits within the blood vessels, Sleep apnoea, risk of cancers, gall bladder or fatty liver diseases, etc. You body can also feel so much more achy, especially the lower back due to reduced mobility or overall movements your body makes over a long period of time (NHS, 2021)


Sitting for long periods of time has been associated with similar health implications as obesity and smoking. How nuts is that?! Studies have found that increased daily activity (approximately 60-75 minutes daily) and regular break periods can drastically reduce the health risks associated with sitting and even counteract them completely (mayoclinic, 2020).


Reducing Risk Factors


Sitting is essential for when you are working so we need to look at how we can reduce these risk factors -


  1. A classic - taking regular breaks. Ideally every 30 minutes, but that is so not realistic. If you are in a two hour meeting, it's unlikely this will happen. Set yourself breaks in your work diary to get up and work around the block or office building.

  2. If you have the opportunity, try to walk during a work call or stand during meetings. This will help alleviate poor posture when sitting for so many hours of your day.

  3. Do you have any standing desks at work? If so, book them out. They are such a great tool to use and can help keep your concentration levels up a little bit more.

  4. Book in a lunch time activity! A walk with colleagues, a walk with your dog, a quick fire gym sessions, book out a room in your office to change and do some yoga or Youtube.

  5. If you are a morning person train before work! This was you do not have the opportunity to think about why you do not need to go to the gym that evening.

  6. Train with a friend. If you hate mornings, book a buddy to gym with, set a time and place to meet and get fit together. It is likely adherence will be better and if will be so much more enjoyable.

  7. Set a timer through out your day to get up and do some squats or press ups or anything really.


All these ideas are simple and can increase your daily activity goals, lift your mood and allow you to feel better within your body.

When you sit down for work on a daily basis it can be tough to motivate yourself and increase daily movement. The benefits to your health will massively outweigh any concerns, all we need to do is workout how to get you there.


References


House of Commons, (2021), Obesity Statistics, Available at: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/sn03336/ Accessed on 06.12.2021


Mayoclinic, (2020), Sitting risk factors, available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/sitting/faq-20058005 Accessed on: 06.12.2021


NHS, (2021), Obesity-related hospital admissions, Available at: https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/statistics-on-obesity-physical-activity-and-diet/england-2021/part-1-obesity-related-hospital-admissions Accessed on: 06.12.2021

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