People who like to play mahjong, poker games or other board games during the Lunar New Year holiday are advised to stand up and walk around from time to time due to the health risks associated with sitting for a long time, a physical therapist said.
Lee Chang-han (李昌翰), a physical therapist at Cathay General Hospital in New Taipei City, said that common symptoms of prolonged sitting include muscle inflammation, backache, shoulder and neck stiffness, indigestion, dizziness and numb feet, while it could worsen cardiovascular disease and even cause bladder inflammation or other problems.
People with a history of heart disease or high blood pressure should pay more attention to the health risks associated with sitting for a long time, Lee added.
Photo: Chiu Chih-jou, Taipei Times
As a person playing games generally keeps their arms fixed within a certain range and repeatedly bends and raises them, it is easy to cause muscle fatigue, which can lead to inflammation of the tendons, Lee said.
A person’s back muscles can tighten if they sit in the same position for a long period, Lee said.
“Playing mahjong or poker games can also easily result in excessive use of the muscles in the back of the neck ... [producing] a deep dull pain due to lack of oxygen,” he said.
Dizziness and numbness in the feet are mainly caused by sitting for a long time, Lee said.
“Blood circulation ... will be hindered, which can easily cause coldness and numbness in the lower limbs. When a person stands up suddenly after sitting for a long time, they often feel dizzy due to the change of posture,” he said.
Meanwhile, sitting for long periods reduces slows gastrointestinal peristalsis, he said.
That, coupled with irregular mealtimes or overeating during the Lunar New Year holiday, can cause indigestion, gastric ulcers and other digestive system problems, Lee said.
When playing games, people with a history of heart disease and high blood pressure tend to get overly excited or agitated, which increases their risk of a stroke, angina, heart attack or other serious events, Lee said.
Many people often do not urinate as often as they should when playing games, Lee said, adding that this can cause a urinary tract infection and bladder inflammation.
“When playing games, people should choose a chair of appropriate height to avoid hunching over. It is recommended they leave the chair for 10 minutes every hour,” Lee said.
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