One of the biggest dangers today is also one of the lesser known dangers facing children and adults: sitting. To be clear, simply sitting is not going to hurt anyone, but sitting down for prolonged amounts of time can cause serious damage over time. In fact, studies show that those who sit for hours consecutively throughout the day without getting up to stretch and walk around may be shortening their lifespan. It also increases the risk of developing serious illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and more.
Unfortunately, many children spend a lot of time sitting due to long school hours, watching television, and spending time on social media. So, how do we stand up kids?
While it was already known that too much sitting is bad for adults, recent studies have shown that children who sit too much are in just as much danger as their adult counterparts, if not more. According to one study, children who sat for a prolonged period of time developed serious changes in blood flow and arteries, which would be an indicator of serious cardiovascular problems in adults.
What’s worse, even if children exercise, settling on the couch or in a chair for the rest of the day causes the risks to remain as high as ever. In school, children of course have breaks, recess and physical education, but if they come home and sit in front of the television or at a desk until it’s time to go to bed, they could be creating irreversible damage within their bodies.
In addition to heart disease and diabetes, prolonged sitting can lead to obesity, liver disease, metabolic syndrome, and even premature death in some.
Overall, prolonged sitting can be pretty dangerous, so what do you do to protect your children?
In today’s culture of smartphones, binging shows and long classes, it may seem inevitable to be sitting a lot.
However, there are ways to help your children, and yourself, get up and moving to block out the effects of prolonged sitting. The following are some great ways to break up sitting blocks so your kids can get their blood flowing:
Get Up Every 30 Minutes: If your child is sitting doing their homework or relaxing, encourage them to get up every 30 minutes or so and move around. This can be as simple as walking through the house, going outside or jogging in place. The point is to get the heart rate up so that the effects of prolonged sitting are broken up and less likely to negatively impact health over time.
Take Daily Walks No Matter Where They Are: Taking walks are a great way to increase cardio as well as get yourself moving without too much exertion. Even if you drive to the grocery store and walk briskly as you shop with your children, this can be a positive change in the “couch potato” style.
Stretch Every Hour: When sitting for too long, your muscles can get sore and achy, making it even less likely for your child to want to get up and stretch. Encourage them to do so anyway. Ask them to get up every hour or so and stretch out their arms, legs, torsos—everything. Perhaps integrating some yoga could help stand up kids as well because it gives anxious children an outlet for exercise and peace.
Take Breaks: Whether you’re reading, doing homework or binge-watching Netflix, taking a break is always necessary. Before your child becomes one with the couch or overloads on homework information, encourage them to get up and take a break every once and a while. This could simply mean getting up to talk with you, calling their friends or taking a stroll outside.
Try Standing: Standing is one of the easiest ways to combat the negative effects of prolonged sitting. One way to make positive changes in your child’s life and body is to get them a standup desk. Such desks encourage the user to stand instead of sit while they work, giving them a workout without too much exertion. It’s a great, simple way to get one’s blood flowing without breaking up a routine or a rhythm.
StandDesk offers a number of great products and standup desk benefits that are all positive for your health. Remember, sitting itself isn’t bad, it’s when you sit too much for too long that things get dangerous. Be smart and take care of yourself and your child by doing what you can to keep your bodies working well for years to come. Providing your child with a standup desk wouldn’t hurt, either!