One of the things that is often discussed in depth by health professionals is the effects of any gravity below the threshold of what we believe to be gravity on the human body, and how the lack of activity produces similar effects on people to those experienced by astronauts in space. Changes that happen in the microgravity of space are very similar of those of aging on Earth, except they happen 10 times as fast.
Bone loss is one example. People lose about 1% of their bone mass each year, beginning when they are 20. Astronauts, however, lose about 5% of their bone mass after only a few months. Because of this, astronauts have to spend up to four hours each day exercising to counteract the effects of zero gravity.
Experts believe exercise can be more beneficial for astronauts if they space out their activity throughout the day. This requires doing low-intensity exercise very frequently throughout the day. The same theory applies to people here on Earth. The key to having the best health possible is being in continuous motion while you are awake.
Most people spend their days sitting at a desk and not moving much, which is a significant problem when it comes to health-related issues. Uninterrupted sitting causes ill-effects in the long-run.
Diet also has a huge impact on long-term health when it comes to bone loss. Specifically, it is best to eat a ketogenic diet to protect bones and muscle mass and even to optimize mental functioning. Space research also shows that a lack of gravity begins to deteriorate the vestibular system, which is located in your inner ear. It also disturbs the brain maps that make you aware of you where you are relative to your surroundings. This is why astronauts begin to lose their spatial awareness.
With a sedentary lifestyle and inactivity mimicking microgravity your spatial awareness worsens, therefore increasing your risk of falling due to loss of balance. However, you can gain this function back.
While on emphasis has been on total hours seated, it is also important to look at the number of uninterrupted hours seated. If you are able to get up from sitting often, you are less likely to have the unhealthy effects of prolonged sitting, such as a heightened risk of heart problems, stroke, and certain forms of cancer.
Diabetes, obesity, depression and reduced cognitive functioning in children are also associated with too much uninterrupted sitting, possibly due to a lack of blood circulation. One of the benefits of exercise is an improvement of mitochondrial function. It is not known if merely standing up could bring on these same metabolic benefits, however, it is known is within 30 minutes of sitting, triglyceride levels increase, which is often related to diabetes.
Even just standing up for 15 minutes every to hours can be beneficial to your health. Those who are wheelchair bound can get the benefits of standing by using a stand-up capable wheelchair. There are many sit-stand wheelchairs on the market, which allow the user to raise themselves up to standing position if they have use of their arms.
The important thing to be in the best health is to stay in more or less continuous motion while you are awake. It is very easy to get some movement in during the day, and it does not have to be high-intensity exercise. Housecleaning, cooking, doing laundry, gardening, and putting clothes away all count as movement.
Even just standing up and walking around the house every so often will provide you with health benefits. Once you get in the habit of moving, you will do it more and more.
One great strategy is to adopt a pet. Adopting a pet will make you get up throughout the day to walk it, let it outside, or play with it. It may also motivate you to get up and walk across the room to give it a few pats on the head.
A trampoline is also a good idea because it provides enough motion to increase your circulation of oxygen and nutrients throughout your body, and promote muscle and bone strength. A vibrating platform is a good idea for those who are not strong enough to jump on a trampoline.
Just get up and walk around as much as you can throughout the day to keep your bones in good health. It may not seem like much if you are doing little motions, but your body is benefitting.
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