Is Sitting Really Bad for You?
Do you sit most of the day?
Wondering if all that sitting is bad for you?
Sure, your chair looks innocent, but don't be fooled! According to study after study, prolonged sitting can wreak havoc on your body and shorten your life. Perhaps worst of all, you're not off the hook just because you exercise.
It’s called sitting disease and you don’t want to get it.
In studies involving over 4,500 people, nearly 9,000 people, and a whopping 240,000 people, sitting has been independently associated with increased mortality (i.e. an early grave) and a higher risk of cardiovascular disease regardless of physical activity levels.
A 13-year study found that women who sat for 6 or more hours a day were over 94% more likely to die during the study than those who sat for 3 hours a day. Women who sat the most were 3 times more likely to die from heart disease as those who sat the least, regardless of specific exercise level.
Men who sat more than 23 hours per week had a 64% higher chance of dying from heart disease than men who sat less than 11 hours per week. As Mayo Clinic Cardiologist Martha Grogan explained: For people who sit most of the day, their risk of heart attack is about the same as smoking. Is sitting really bad for you? Absolutely.
YOUR WAISTLINE PAYS THE PRICE
Have you put on weight since you started working a desk job? Even if you are physically active, sitting all day can cause you to pack on the pounds. On average, you burn one calorie a minute while sitting. Almost as soon as you sit down, the rate at which you produce fat-burning enzymes drops by 90%.
As the body becomes worse at getting rid of fats and sugars, it becomes easier to gain weight – particularly around your middle where it’s most dangerous. This all happens quickly. In one study, men who typically walked a lot reduced their activity by taking the elevator and driving to work. Their bodies were worse at metabolizing sugars and fats in just two weeks.
YOUR BACK PAYS THE PRICE, TOO
Back pain is a big pain. It's estimated that 65 million Americans suffer from back pain, making it the second most common reason for calling up the doctor. When we sit, we often have poor posture, hunching over laptops or tablets. We crane our necks. We sit on bulky wallets and throw off our spines. All of these things add to the risk of developing debilitating back pain.
Sitting increases the pressure placed on the lower spine by ten-fold. The spine is ill-equipped to handle being in a chair for hours on end, day after day, week after week. With our increasingly sedentary lifestyles, it's no wonder that the average adult is likely to have approximately one episode of severe back pain every 15 years.
THE POTENTIAL RISKS ARE MANY
The health risks associated with prolonged sitting can make a long list.
Diabetes - That pudge over your belt is an early warning sign that diabetes might be in your future. Diabetes is a devastating chronic disease that can lead to blindness, amputations, and early death.
Blood Clots - Studies have shown that the risk of developing life-threatening blood clots is at least double for women who sit compared to women who are more active.
Metabolic Syndrome - Prolonged sitting makes it more likely you will develop metabolic syndrome, likely leading to weight gain and other health problems associated with being overweight.
Cancer - Studies have tied inactivity, and in some cases sitting specifically, to increased risk of developing colon and breast cancer. Again, some of these studies found higher cancer risks even for folks who exercised regularly.
Stroke - Sitting in that chair also can mean a higher chance of having a stroke, at any age.
EVER FALL ASLEEP ON YOUR KEYBOARD?
You don't need a fancy research study to tell you that sitting all day just doesn’t make you feel good. Sometimes it’s that slow start in the morning when no amount of coffee will do the trick. Or maybe it’s falling asleep on your keyboard after a big lunch. Then there’s that feeling of exhaustion at the end of the day even though you didn’t do anything active. In fact, people who sit for long periods of time are more likely to display depressive symptoms. Being slouched in a chair actually has been shown to send "sad signals" to your brain.
Is sitting really bad for you? Yep, sitting sucks. You might have to work, but you don't have to let it kill you. Get up, and get healthy with a standing desk and treadmill! Say bye to health risks and hello to productivity, energy, and happiness! Sitting has been called the new smoking. Click here to learn the four reasons that statement is true.