Excessive Sitting and Poor Health
Everyone knows by now that a sedentary lifestyle is bad for health. Now new researches have thrown more light on the specific action of “sitting” showing that sitting is dangerous to health if continued for a long time, even though the person takes regular exercise. And sitting is not only very bad for our health, but it actually reduces our lifespan!
Sitting for a long time is associated with
• Deteriorated mental health
• Increased risk of death from cardiac and other causes
• Increased risk of being disabled
Experts still don’t know definitely what comes first – too much sitting brings poor health or vice versa. They also are of opinion that we should consider sitting and exercise as two individual actions affecting our health in two different ways. Thus if you think that you can sit for eight hours continuously after jogging for an hour in the morning, you are wrong!
The Harmful Effects of Sitting for Too Long
Sitting for too long is linked to cardiac events like heart disease death, heart attack, general death and death from cancer. Longer sitting time is also connected to obesity, high blood pressure, LDL (bad) cholesterol and excessive belly fat.
Scientists propose some theories regarding why excessive sitting is bad for health. One of them is sitting for a longer time makes muscles burn less fat and blood flow sluggishly. Both these elevate the risk of cardiac events, high blood pressure and other health problems.
Researchers are still not sure about whether sitting for too long causes obesity or obese people sit for too long because they are obese.
No Connection with Reduced Hunger
You might think that sitting idly may reduce hunger, but scientists disagree with this. Barry Braun, Ph.D., director of the University of Massachusetts’ Energy Metabolism Laboratory performed a study with a group of people making them sit for a whole day and stand them for the whole day, the next day, and studied their appetite. It was observed that the transformation from an active state to a sitting state doesn’t reduce appetite or energy intake. On the contrary, he says that prolonged sitting might trigger more eating than usual, thus causing weight gain.
Andrea LaCroix, Ph.D., director of the University of California’s Women’s Health Center of Excellence, says that you need not demonize sitting. She says that ideally you should only decrease the sitting time by breaking it up. Sitting for a while after a stressful day can actually be good for you.
Though the researchers are not sure about how often to get up, getting up every half an hour is recommended.
• Use a standing desk for work
• Remind yourself to sit less. While watching TV, take commercials as a warning to get up for some time.
Scientists are hopeful that once people sit less, they will be more open to the concept of moving more and becoming more active.