Sitting All Day Is Bad For Your Health, What Are The Solutions?

Sitting All Day Is Bad For Your Health, What Are The Solutions?

We’re told it all the time, sitting for too long is bad for your health. Multiple research studies have found that sitting for long periods can cause health problems such as obesity and metabolic syndrome, the name of a group of risk factors that raise a person’s risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. So what do the experts say and what can we do to avoid health problems caused by sitting?

Study Finds Sitting Linked To Disability In Older Americans

A new research study published in the ‘Journal of Physical Activity and Health’, has found that older people sitting for long periods of time significantly increased their risk of becoming disabled even if they exercised regularly. For each daily hour the study participants (aged 60 and above) spent sitting, their risk of becoming disabled increased by 46 percent. Participants in the study were sedentary for almost 9 hours a day. Researchers conducting the study were interested to see if moderate to vigorous physical activity could offset the effects of a sedentary lifestyle. Unfortunately one limitation of the study was that researchers couldn’t determine if participants were less active because they were already disabled or if being disabled led to a sedentary lifestyle.

Steven Blair, a professor of public health at the University of South Carolina, conducted a similar study, which looked at adult men and their risk of dying from heart disease. One of the factors he looked at was how much time participants spent sitting. He found that participants spending 23 hours or more a week being sedentary, had a 64 percent greater risk of developing and dying from heart disease than those who spent less than 11 hours a week being sedentary.

How Sitting All Day Can Be Hazardous Your Health

Sitting for too long can cause numerous health problems. Some of the most common health problems include:

  • Heart Disease: When you are sitting for long periods, your body burns less fat due to muscle inactivity; your blood flow is also slowed. Prolonged periods of sitting can lead to high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol.
  • Diabetes: Sitting for long periods can affect our body’s insulin response and may lead to diabetes. Idle muscles don’t respond well to insulin, the hormone responsible for transporting glucose to our cells for energy. When this happens, the body produces more and more insulin, which may eventually lead to diabetes.
  • Poor Leg Circulation: Sitting all day slows blood circulation. This causes fluid to pool in the legs. This can lead to problems ranging from varicose veins to deep vein thrombosis.
  • Disk Damage: Sitting for too long can cause serious spinal problems. People sitting for long periods are at greater risk of developing a herniated lumbar disk due to the pressure placed on their lower spines.

How To Avoid Health Problems Associated With Sitting

Even if you have a desk job, there are ways you can minimize your risk of developing a health condition from sitting for long periods:

  • Standing Desks: You will find that most Office Desks will have adjustable features to make the usability more practical. It’s often than not that standing desks from places like HADO desks, have great adjustable features that enable you to work on your computer while standing. Options range from expensive motor controlled desks to do it yourself options. Standing desk manufacturers have seen sales increase dramatically over the past few years. Some experts say that standing the entire day may have health risks because of the extra strain placed on the circulatory system, but adjustable desks solve this problem, enabling you to sit and stand throughout the day.
  • Take Frequent Walks: Don’t be tied to your desk all day. Try to walk somewhere for lunch. It’s also great to take shorter walks around the office or outside, especially when you feel tired in the afternoon.
  • Use An Exercise Ball Instead Of A Chair: Using an exercise ball instead of a chair can help to strengthen your core and improve balance and flexibility.

Sources:
http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/02/19/us-health-sitting-disability – Sitting tied to disability among older Americans: study. Reuters.
http://www.npr.org/2011/04/25/135575490/sitting-all-day-worse-for-you-than-you-might-think – Sitting All Day: Worse For You Than You Might Think. NPR.Org.
http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/page/national/the-health-hazards-of-sitting/750/ – The Health Hazards of Sitting. The Washington Post.
http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/adult-health/expert-answers/sitting/faq-20058005 – What are the risks of sitting too much? Mayo Clinic.
http://www.mnn.com/money/green-workplace/stories/is-a-standing-desk-right-for-me – Is a standing desk right for me? Mother Nature Network.

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