A recent study from the Deakin University’s Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research (C-PAN) in Australia has revealed that sitting may not be as relaxing as it appears – in fact, it can increase anxiety levels.
The study looked at nine previous studies that examined the link between anxiety and sedentary behaviour. It was concluded that, the longer someone sat, the higher their risk of developing a nervous disorder.
Causation is yet to be proved, however the C-PAN team believe the link derives from disturbances in sleeping patterns and poor metabolic health. Another factor they noted was the social withdrawal theory which says prolonged sedentary behaviour, for example binge watching TV, can result in withdrawal from social relationships.
For many of us, being sedentary is the norm. We drive to work, sit at a desk all day, drive home and then sit in front of the TV to ‘relax’. So, what can you do to reduce your sitting time and embrace your social relationships?
If you live close to work, try walking or cycling in for a change. If you have to drive, try parking further away than usual to get a few more steps in. If this isn’t possible, why don’t you try car-pooling with a colleague? While you won’t necessarily be sitting any less, at least you’ll boost your social interaction.
Instead of emailing or instant messaging your work colleagues, get up and talk to them. This will get you up out of your seat and moving around. You could also set an alert to go off every hour, encouraging you to get up and stretch. Try getting out for a walk on your lunch break; as well as getting you moving, being out of the office and in the fresh air will help to clear your head and de-stress.
Instead of slumping in front of the TV to relax, try to cultivate a new relaxation routine. Try some exercise – running, yoga and walking are all well-known for their anxiety reducing qualities. When you do relax in front of the TV, get up every now and then for a quick stretch.