Osteoporosis: One of the Reasons Why I Don’t Grab a Seat on the Subway

Osteoporosis - One of the Reasons Why I Don't Grab a Seat of the Subway

By: Catherine Chea.

Every morning on my commute, people scamper to find a seat on the TTC subway. Standing seems unbearable for many, especially if it’s a “long” trip. After all, it’s tiring to stand for prolonged periods of time and we can feel uncomfortable when it gets really crowded.

I used to prefer sitting on a subway myself until I attended a panel discussion hosted by McGill University on osteoporosis, which is a condition that causes bones to become thin and porous over time. As a person who is in her twenties, most of the attendees were much older than I was — many of whom seemed to be around the age of retirement. Much to my surprise, even though I’m at my physical prime and something such as bone deterioration isn’t on top of my mind…I now realize how important it is to take care of my bone health now, in order to prevent health problems associated with osteoporosis in the future.

The health effects of osteoporosis

Asides from losing bone density, osteoporosis leads to fractures which are more common than cases of heart attack, stroke and breast cancer combined and affect 1 in 3 women above age 50 worldwide. Although fractures are rarely fatal, they may lead to complications such as pneumonia, blood clots, bedsores and post-operative infections which are common and can lead to death. Fortunately, this can be prevented. A simple way to reduce the risks of osteoporosis is to exercise and to stand more often instead of sitting.

Sitting is the silent killer

You might have heard this catch phrase before, but I think it is more relevant than ever. With technology and how it’s shaping our lives, we are more sedentary than ever. I find myself guilty of sitting most of the time by a computer. Sometimes I even find excuses not to walk and instead take the subway so I could sit more. In addition to increasing the risks of osteoporosis, being sedentary is bad for your metabolism, which then leads to a Pandora of life threatening diseases including heart disease.

It’s time to start a movement—literally

The next time you hop on a subway and you’re tempted to sit, ask yourself, “Why do I want to sit?” I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt to stand for another 20 minutes. After all, we’re not made to be sedentary. We humans need to keep moving in order to stay healthy and alive. The time is now to take care of your body and to get more out of life.

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