How Sitting Impacts your Circulation, and What to Do About It
One of the basic functions vital to life is circulation, and it happens automatically without us even thinking about it. You do not have to remind your heart to pump blood through your body and carry oxygen and vital nutrients, it just happens. For this reason, we may not spend a lot of time thinking about our circulatory system, and how sitting for long periods of time may have a negative impact.
Here are the basics of your circulatory system: your heart pumps oxygen rich blood away from your heart, carrying oxygen and nutrients to your brain, other vital organs, and tissues. The pressure created by your heart pumping carries the oxygen rich blood to its destination, but then it needs to return. Blood completes its loop through veins, which bring blood back to the heart and lungs for more oxygen and re-circulation.
Although your heart acts as a pump and helps move your blood through arteries and veins, veins also rely on movement and muscle contraction to complete the cycle. Veins are further away from the heart’s pressure, and therefor need a little bit of help in the form of basic movement.
How Sitting Impacts Blood Circulation
A garden hose works at its best with a steady supply of pressure, and no kinks. Kinks in a hose inhibit flow, inhibit efficiency, and can even stop flow all together if severe enough. Apply this principle to sitting, and think about how this posture can create natural bends and barriers for your circulation.
In addition to the posture of sitting, there is an inherit lack of movement which accompanies prolonged periods of sitting. During this period of time, your veins are not getting the assistance they need to help complete the process of circulating your blood. Thinking of the garden hose example, operating a kinked hose will have stressful impacts on the hose, spigot, and other components of the system because it is not working efficiently.
Lets Talk About It
Here is a quick video with visual examples of how sitting impacts circulation, and what we can do about it. This video includes discussion of another area of circulation, your lymphatic system. Your lymphatic system is part of your immune system, and has vessels, organs, and lymph fluid. Unlike your blood and system of vessels, the lymphatic system does not have a pump, and relies exclusively on movement and muscle contraction for circulation.
What Can We Do About It?
There are simple solutions to combating the negative impacts of sitting. If you have a sedentary job, you need to get up and move every 30 minutes; stand up, go for a walk up the hallway, go to your co worker’s office, just do some type of movement. If you have a physical job, your work is not as much of a challenge in this area. However, we all need to mindful of this when we travel for long periods of time, whether the mode be Planes, Trainers, or Automobiles. Always build in stretch breaks when you travel.
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