According to recent research, adding years to your life expectancy requires avoiding sitting for long periods of time. Unfortunately, in our day and age where everything is evolving around computers, people remain seated all day long. Creating remote controls, didn’t help the matters either. Our comfort has turned into a real health hazard. Sitting makes our bodies go into storage mode when the electrical activity of your muscles slows down. Sedentary life damages physical capacity and overall health.
- Sitting increases your premature death risks. According to the study in the American Journal of Epidemiology, women who sat 6 or more hours a day were 40 percent higher at risk to die over a 13-year-period than those who sat less than three hours. For men, sitting for more than 6 hours a day were 18% higher at risk of death.
- Sitting creates chronic diseases. According to a study performed in Australia, sitting for long hours is associated with an increased risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
- Sitting increases risk of thrombosis. Prolonged sitting is associated with formation of blood clots that obstructs blood flow.
- Sitting is bad for your mind. Inactivity effects your mood and can lead to depression. According to the study, women who didn’t perform any physical activity had a 99% higher risk for developing depressive symptoms than those who exercised.
- Sitting is linked to cancers. Christine Friedenreich, an epidemiologist at Alberta Health Services-Cancer Care in Canada, found that Physical inactivity is linked to as many as 49,000 cases of breast cancer and 43,000 cases of colon cancer a year in the United States.
- Sitting and weight gain. When you put pressure on certain body parts such as your bottom, it produces up to 50 percent more fat than usual.
- Sitting is associated with cardiovascular problems. Men’s Health covered a study in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, in which researchers discovered that people who sit for the majority of the day are 54 percent more likely to die of a heart attack.
- Sitting is associated with diabetes. Prolonged sitting has devastating effects on insulin resistance and inflammation which leads to diabetes.
- Sitting is associated with metabolic syndrome and obesity. Sitting increases plasma triglycerides (fatty molecules), LDL cholesterol , and insulin resistance. In other words, your blood sugar levels go up because the muscles can’t absorb fat making you gain weight. This happens when the bigger muscles in the lower half of your body aren’t utilized, this physical inactivity transports signals to your brain that changes your metabolism
- Sitting is bad for your back. When we sit, our lower back takes on the weight of the top half of the body, thus putting an unnecessary pressure on it. Since our backs are actively working, even if we are still, this uneven distribution of weight creates long term problems.
Fortunately, you can do something to avoid all these potential health risks. New research has revealed that breaking up three hours of sitting with three slow, five-minute walks undoes the damage that sitting causes to the leg arteries.
Also, try to incorporate everyday body movements such as household chores, something our ancestors did all day long. Try standing up at least twice every hour, walk around or do squat jumps. According to Dr. Vernikos, squatting is an extension of standing. Squatting and standing will help you work against the force of gravity.