How Sitting Affects Your Health

(BeWellBuzz) Those leisurely hours you have enjoyed sitting may not have been all that good after all. Yes, you heard that right! Sitting down may be relaxing in the short term, but in the long run can be quite damaging. Read on to find out how and why.

Having to sit down is often a choice you cannot avoid. In this modern day, most cushy jobs pay well but also require people to sit for hours on end. While sitting down has always been associated with weight gain, it is now emerging that not getting up enough could even result in premature death.

Take the example of research done at the University of Leicester and published in the ‘Diabetologia’ journal. This master study took findings from 18 separate studies and explored 800, 000 cases. The study found that long hours of sitting increases the chances of diabetes as well as heart disease. Moreover, the bad news is that it’s no different for people who manage to get a daily dose of exercise.

So, what exactly does sitting down do? 

Calorie burning slows down – The moment you rest your back on that chair, the electrical activity that otherwise plays out in your leg muscles shuts down. Even the speed at which you burn calories becomes a tortoise-slow 1 per minute. In addition, the production of enzymes that help in breaking down all that unnecessary fat dip by about 90%.

Good cholesterol goes down – There is usually no end to the good you can say about ‘good’ cholesterol. In scientific terms, good cholesterol is known as high-density lipoprotein (HDL). To put it simply, this cholesterol protects the heart from diseases and attacks. There is a 20% fall in HDL every time you end up sitting for two hours.

Insulin becomes less effective – Diabetes can be a deadly disease if undiagnosed and untreated. What’s worse – sitting for hours increases the chances of contracting diabetes. A day spent mostly inactive, and your insulin effectiveness drops, putting you at greater risk to diabetes.

How much do we actually sit and what could that do?

Now that we know the ill effects of sitting down out of our way, let’s get to number crunching. How much do we actually sit and what could those numbers mean to us? Here’s a look:

  • We spend about 7.7 hours standing in a day. And before you feel all happy about that, here’s for how long we sit : 9.3 hours.
  • Obese people sit for 2.5 hours longer than their thinner counterparts do, on an average.
  • If you are in the habit of sitting for more than 6 hours a day, you may want to change it. This number indicates that you may have 40% more risk of dying within 15 years from now. You can lower this risk by sitting for three hours in a day or even less.
  • Every time you sit down, the rate at which you burn calories comes down by 3 to 5 times, than when you stand.
  • If you hold a sitting job, you have reason to be scared. It has been found that people who do sedentary jobs face the risk of developing cardiovascular issues 2 times more than those who hold active jobs.
  • Sitting up stick straight and slouching are both bad ideas. Instead, sit at an angle of 135 degrees, leaning a little forward. This takes care of postural problems without creating a lot of pressure on your back.

Is there a way to venture out of the sitting zone?

Even if you hold a sitting job, it would be wrong to believe there is no way out. Whether you are someone who swears by daily exercise or not, there is a lot you can do to not sit. Here’s how.

  • Take frequent walking breaks. Sounds like an idea that could play around with your concentration at work? You could implement this even if you work to the best of your abilities. How? Take the help of alarm notifications. Set an alarm for time you want to sit working. The moment that goes off, take a 15-minute break. Convince yourself that you need it even when you have to work under pressure.
  • Start working at a standing desk. Getting used to one may take time but you nevertheless will get used to one. Just make sure it is at a comfortable height so that you don’t end up with postural problems or a bad, aching back.
  • Stand more often. You don’t really need a standing desk to reap the benefits of standing. Instead, you can simply take the oath of standing more. Make sure you have comfortable, padded footwear so that you don’t tire out your legs and feet. Stand when you can sit. For example, when you receive a phone call or while eating lunch.



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