Did you know, sitting for long hours at a stretch can give you high blood pressure and increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer? In fact, any extended sitting such as at a desk, behind a wheel, or in front of a screen can be harmful.
When we sit, we use less energy as compared to standing or moving. Research has linked sitting for long periods of time with several health concerns. They include obesity and a cluster of conditions -- high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels. Prolonged periods of sitting also seem to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and Cancer.
Several studies done to understand the link between sitting time and health risk factors found that those who sat for more than eight hours a day with no physical activity, faced similar risks of dying as posed by obesity or smoking. Therefore, living a sedentary lifestyle can be dangerous to your health. The less sitting or lying down you do during the day, the better your chances for living a healthy life. We know that due to the pandemic, most people are confined to their homes and work-from-home has added up to more working hours, leading to long sitting hours in front of the screens. But the health impact it has is manifold.
How long sitting hours affect your body: Humans are built to stand upright. Our heart and cardiovascular system work more effectively that way. Our bowel function is also more efficient when we are upright. It is common for people who are bedridden in the hospital to experience problems with their bowel function, isn't it? Similarly, sitting for long or being inactive for prolonged hours can be very harmful to health.
Leg and gluteals (bum muscles): Sitting for long periods can lead to weakening and wasting away of the large leg and gluteal muscles. These large muscles are important for walking and for stabilizing us. If these muscles are weak, we are more likely to get injured from falls, and from exercises.
Metabolic problems leading to heart diseases and stroke: Moving the muscles helps our body digest the fats and sugars we eat. If we spend a lot of time sitting, digestion is not as efficient, so the body will retain those fats and sugars.
Hip and joint problems: Sitting causes our hip flexor muscles to shorten, which can lead to problems with hip joints. Sitting for long periods can also cause problems with the back, especially if one consistently sits with poor posture or doesn't use an ergonomically designed chair or workstation. Even if you exercise but end up spending a large amount of time sitting, you are still at risk of health problems such as Metabolic Syndrome.
Cancer: Emerging studies suggest that the dangers of sitting include increasing your chances of developing some types of Cancer, including lung, uterine, and colon cancers.
How to stay active and healthy during work time: Prolonged sitting as bad as smoking a daily cigarette pack a day. When you are active your levels and endurance improves, and your bones maintain strength. You might start by simply standing rather than sitting when you have the chance, or finding ways to walk while you work.
Every 30 minutes, take a break from sitting
Stand while talking on the phone or while watching television
If you work at a desk, try a standing desk or improvise with a high table or counter
Position your work surface above a treadmill with a computer screen and keyboard on a stand or a specialized treadmill-ready vertical desk, so that you can be in motion throughout the day
The impact of movement, even leisurely movement, can be profound. For starters, you will burn more calories. This might lead to weight loss and increased energy levels. Also, physical activity helps maintain muscle tone and leads us to overall mental well-being.
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Bengaluru, June 22 (IANS) About 12 cancer survivors from Bengaluru on Tuesday made an appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Karnataka Chief Minister B. S. Yediyurappa to take steps to impose a ban on tobacco sales, smoking, and spitting in public places which would help mitigate the spread of Covid-19 in the anticipated third wave and future waves.Besides appealing to Modi and Yediyurappa, these survivors have also sent copies of the letter to Union Health Minister Harsha Vardhan, Karnataka health minister, K. Sudhakar and Deputy chief minister, C. N. Ashwath Narayan, who is also the chairman of the Karnataka Covid Task Force.Citing the findings of the World Health Organisation (WHO), cancer survivors from the city in their letter dated June 22, said that smokers are at a high risk of developing severe complications when infected with the Covid-19 virus."Smokers are at a greater risk for hospital admission, need for ventilators, ICUs, and even death due to Covid-19. While chewing tobacco products increases saliva production and when the user spits it out, he/she spreads germs and viruses. Therefore, it is in the larger interest of the society that governments take stringent measures to ban sale of tobacco and its allied products," Nalini Satyanarayana,a cancer survivor and health activist, noted.She added that people who are nearby could inhale it (smoke) or touch the contaminated surface, getting infected and leading to the spread of the virus.The letter by these survivors asked both the state and Union governments to ban smoking at hotels, airports, pubs and hookah bars to prevent the spread of the virus."The governments must take steps to introduce vendor licensing to reduce accessibility of tobacco and its allied products. Besides this, the governments must also effectively implement a ban on public spitting, which will help in reducing the spread of deadly virus now and in future too," the survivors said in their letter.Meanwhile, oncologist Dr Vishal Rao, who is also a member of Karnataka's High Power Committee on Tobacco Control, highlighted that Covid-appropriate behaviour like wearing masks and social distancing cannot be followed in designated smoking areas (DSAs)."The current provisions of the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) allows smoking in DSAs at restaurants, pubs, bars, and airports and these DSA are often very congested places where droplets can survive in such closed chambers with them having a possibility to become super-spreaders of Covid-19," he argued.The Consortium for Tobacco Free Karnataka's honorary advisor, Vijayalakshmi Balekundri, said the state should enforce the ban on spitting in public places, which is already imposed, by slapping fines on the violators."As the state is gradually unlocking, it is the right time for the government to consider banning DSAs and to amend COTPA," she said.--IANSnbh/bg
New Delhi, May 31 (IANS) Tobacco consumption has long been associated with lung disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. But, a recent guidance by the World Health Organization (WHO) states that smokers face a 40-50 per cent higher risk of developing severe disease and death from Covid-19. Health experts have urged smokers to quit as it is necessary now more than ever.World No-Tobacco Day is observed on May 31 every year. This year's theme is 'Commit to Quit'."Given the correlation between the severity of Covid-19 and tobacco, the need to create awareness about ending tobacco use has never been more critical. World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) is an opportunity to raise awareness on the harmful and deadly effects of tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure, and to discourage the use of tobacco in any form," said Dr. Roderico H Ofrin, WHO Representative to India, in a statement."This year's theme for WNTD 'Commit to Quit' aims to support 100 million people worldwide in their attempts to give up tobacco through various initiatives. We all must help create healthier environments that are conducive to quitting tobacco use," Ofrin added.According to WHO, the act of smoking means that fingers (and possibly contaminated cigarettes) are in contact with lips which increases the possibility of transmission of the virus from hand to mouth. Smokeless tobacco users may spread the disease through spitting."There is growing evidence that smokers have a higher mortality rate with respect to coronavirus infection compared to non-smokers. Especially the smokers who already have certain health conditions like COPD or other heart diseases are at a greater risk of succumbing to death if they get infected with the virus," Dr Vikas Maurya, Director and Head of Department, Pulmonology, Fortis Hospital Shalimar Bagh.Aligning with the theme, the WHO has launched a national mass media campaign to encourage tobacco users to quit, along with global health organisation Vital Strategies.The campaign, "When You Quit" explains how smoking cigarettes or bidi can cause heart attack and may also increase the risk of severe Covid-19.The WHO is supporting the "When You Quit" campaign developed in multiple Indian languages and to be aired across 15 states covering 169 districts with high burden of tobacco use through All India Radio, MY FM & Radio City. Additionally, Vital Strategies will augment the amplification of the message through major online streaming platforms - Facebook, Hotstar, Voot, Zee5, SonyLiv and MX Player.According to health experts, the Covid-19 pandemic has also led to a strengthening of resolve among tobacco users in their commitment to quit (tobacco).This could also be because the majority of people were more at home due to Covid-induced lockdowns and they were worried about exposing their children to tobacco smoking, said Dr. Pratima Murthy, Professor of Psychiatry and Head of the Department at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS) Bengaluru."As many as three fourth of all who called to quit said they had given up and nearly about 40 per cent had quit in one month. This is the double of what we would see in the pre-Covid times," Murthy said.--IANSrvt/ash
<br>According to experts, smoking impairs lung function, thereby reducing immunity and making it harder for the body to fight off various diseases."In general smokers have depressed or disturbed immune systems in the form of non-specific immune defence mechanisms in the body like natural killer cells, mast cells and macrophages," Anshuman Kumar, Director Surgical Oncology, Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, New Delhi, told IANS."Smoking slows down the formation of specific defence mechanisms in the form of cellular (T cells, B cells), humoral circulating antibodies," Kumar added.Ahead of World No Tobacco Day, which is observed on May 31, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General said that smokers have up to a 50 per cent higher risk of developing severe disease and death from Covid-19.J.B. Sharma, HOD and Senior Consultant, Medical Oncology, Action Cancer Hospital, New Delhi, said that Covid-19 primarily affects lungs and with compromised health of lungs, a chronic smoker is surely at the higher risk of Covid-19's severity.According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, tobacco use is a major risk factor for the four main Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) -- cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic lung disease and diabetes.Apart from these diseases, smoking tobacco can also affect your gums and lead to several gum-related diseases."Smokers are three to six times more likely to develop gum diseases or periodontal disease as it decreases the blood supply in the gum. They are also six times more likely to develop oral cancer than non-smokers," Pranshu Tripathi, MDS, JR Dental, Dwarka, New Delhi, told IANS.Therefore, experts find a need for smokers to visit a counsellor or a mental health expert as individually delivered smoking cessation counselling can help them quit this unhealthy habit."There are nicotine gums available to control the urges of taking tobacco, apart from that counselling and mental health experts are also available," Kumar said.Tobacco cessation therapy is majorly divided into two parts -- psycho counseling and medicinal therapy.As per Vaishakhi Mallik, Associate Director, Vital Strategies, public education campaigns are a critical tactic to highlight the health harms of tobacco use, support cessation efforts and addressing the tobacco epidemic.(Vivek Singh Chauhan can be reached at [email protected])--IANS<br>vc/sdr/
Hyderabad, May 30 (IANS) Over the past one year, doctors and health experts around the world have deciphered many newer aspects of risks to human life, especially during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. There is sufficient evidence to suggest that the severity of coronavirus is higher among those who smoke cigarettes regularly.Every year, May 31 is observed as World No Tobacco Day, so on the eve of this day, experts have warned the world that if this health emergency is not threat enough for people to quit smoking, then nothing is.Commenting on dangers associated with smoking during this pandemic, Surendra Bathula, Senior Consultant Medical Oncologist, SLG Hospitals pointed out that tobacco products kill more than 8 million people each year, and tobacco use is the primary cause of 25 per cent of all cancer deaths."It is a known fact that tobacco causes respiratory infections and aggravates severity of the diseases. Worldwide, many studies clearly exposed that tobacco consumption increases risk when the person contracts Covid-19, because smoking impairs lung function making it difficult for the human body to fight off coronavirus. It is established that smoking increases expression and upregulation of ACE-2 receptors in the lungs, giving abundant space for coronavirus to invade the human body, replicate itself, and cause severe harm," he said."Quitting the best thing! But, if you cannot do that immediately, you could shift to using e-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco; do not share devices like waterpipes and e-cigarettes with others; protect others from the harms of second-hand/passive smoking; maintain physical distance with other while you are smoking; and above all, do not spit in public places, because that could spread viruses," said Mervin Leo, Cluster COO, Gleneagles Global Hospitals.According to Vaibhav Agrawal, Consultant, internal medicine and critical care, Wockhardt Hospital, Nagpur, the relation between Covid-19 and cardiovascular health is important because tobacco use and exposure to second-hand smoke are major causes of cardiovascular diseases globally. "The effect of Covid-19 on the cardiovascular system could thus make pre-existing cardiovascular conditions worse. Additionally, a weaker cardiovascular system among Covid-19 patients with a history of tobacco use could make such patients more vulnerable to severe symptoms, thereby increasing the risk."Anusha Reddy Karra, Internal Medicine, Western Plains Hospital, Dodge City, USA, pointed out smoking is also associated with increased development of acute respiratory distress syndrome, a key complication for severe cases of Covid-19, among people with severe respiratory infections."From the personal experience of working in the United States, it is more than evident that people who smoke or into drug abuse suffered during this Covid-19 pandemic. Inability of such patients to respond to cure administered suggests how weak the human immune system turns due to smoking and how vulnerable such people are when they contract coronavirus," said Anusha.--IANSms/sdr
New York - A US-based survey has revealed that stress, increased free time and feelings of boredom may have contributed to an increase in the number of cigarettes smoked per day during the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The findings, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, indicated that smokers who increased the number of cigarettes they smoked per day could be at greater risk of dependence and have a more difficult time quitting.
"Knowing the reasons for increased tobacco use and the motivations of those who successfully quit smoking can help us identify how to better address cessation efforts during the pandemic," said researcher Jessica Yingst, Assistant Professor at the Pennsylvania State University in the US.
For the study, the research team asked 291 smokers in Pennsylvania about their tobacco use patterns before and during the early months of the pandemic including how frequently they used tobacco products, reasons why their use patterns changed and whether they attempted to quit.
Nearly a third of smokers reporting increased use due to stress, increased free time and boredom. One participant stated, "Working at home allows me to smoke at will rather than being in a smoke-free environment for 8 hours per day."
In contrast, 10 per cent of participants decreased their tobacco use and attributed that to schedule changes, being around non-smokers such as children and health reasons.
Nearly a quarter of participants reported attempting to quit smoking during the pandemic. A third of those who attempted to quit conveyed that they did so to reduce their risk of poor outcomes should they become infected with Covid-19.
One participant stated, "I quit as soon as I came down with a fever and cough. Clearly, I am aware of how detrimental smoking is to my health; however, I did not consider how it could make me more vulnerable to Covid-19 and its effects. I was terrified and quit immediately."
Ultimately, seven people were successful in quitting all tobacco use. (Agency)