How Sitting too Long is Extremely Dangerous for Health too long

An analysis of 13 studies of sitting time and activity levels found how those who sat for more than eight hours a day with no physical activity shared the same risk of dying like that of obesity and smoking.  If you’re sitting too long, chances are you risk a great deal on your health and you might want to read this article to know more and what to do about it.

What Science Says About Sitting Too Long

Technology may have made us an advanced race, but it has undoubtedly made several million people lazy too. Now how does one assume such a figure? Well, you don’t! According to the World Heart Federation, approximately 2.3 billion adults and children suffer from obesity worldwide. That figure might just hike to 2.7 billion by 2025. While unhealthy diets are a leading cause, sedentary lifestyles are even the bigger culprit. But, here’s the thing! Even if you aren’t obese, sitting too long invites just as big a risk too. Whether you’re a couch potato binge watching TV and gorging on snacks, or a workaholic sitting at your desk 8-10 hours at a stretch, the negative impact on your body might just be the same.

According to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, regardless how much you exercise, sitting for long periods of time risks early death.  The paper published by researchers on January 20th 2015 looked at 47 studies that examined the relationship between sitting and mortality. It observed that more than half of an average person’s  waking hours is dominated by sitting, working at a desk, a computer, watching television or  doing just about nothing at all. This was a shortcut to the grave even for those who exercised up to an hour a day. Moreover, those who sat all day long increased the risk of cardio vascular disease, type II diabetes, cancer, and several related diseases.

What Happens When You Sit Too Long

Sitting too long puts you at risk of several lifestyle conditions like type 2 diabetes, coccydynia, deep vein thrombosis and even sciatica. Here’s what happens when you sit for extended periods of time.

Heart Disease: Physical inactivity is considered the fourth leading cause of death inviting a 6% of coronary heart disease, 7% of type 2 diabetes, 10% of breast cancer, and 10% of colon cancer all due to physical inactivity. Studies have deducted each hour of daily sitting time was associated with a 6% increase in incident fatal and nonfatal CVD.

  • Decreased Blood Circulation. Studies have found how prolonged sitting for 8 hours a day induced edema, and deterioration of the arterial blood flow, shear rate, and microcirculation in lower limb muscles.
  • Pancreas: The ability of your body’s insulin response is affected by a single day of sitting reducing its effectiveness by 24% inviting the risk of insulin resistance and diabetes.
  • Colon Cancer: Excessive sitting increases the risk of colon, breast and endometrial cancers. Lung cancer is increased by 54%, uterine cancer by 66% and colon cancer by 30%.
  • Muscle atrophy: Muscle atrophy is when your muscles become weak and decrease in size due to lack of physical activity. Your leg muscles and glutes especially, weaken increasing the risk of injury. Moreover, you increase the risk of fibromyalgia or muscle fatigue.
  • Spinal Degeneration:  When your spine is upright, the spinal discs are designed to absorb shock and distribute forces evenly. However, prolonged sitting disrupts this natural alignment leading to excessive pressure on the lumbar discs. This can cause spinal degeneration and herniation over time.
  • Weight gain: Movement enables your muscles to release molecules like lipoprotein lipase which helps process fats and sugars. Sitting all day prevents the release of such molecules and impairs metabolism decreasing the body’s ability to regulate glucose. This results in faster abdominal fat and a decrease in fat burning enzymes decrease by 90%.
  • Poor digestion: Excessive sitting compresses the contents of your abdomen leading to cramping, heartburn reflux and constipation as well as microbial imbalances in the body.
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis: Prolonged periods of sitting can increase the risk of diseases such as varicose veins and deep vein thrombosis which causes blood clots in the legs. Read here to know more about DVT

What You Can Do to Counter the Effects of Sitting Too Long

The damage done to your body by sitting too long cannot be undone even by moderate exercise. You need to be balance your sitting time with daily physical activity failing which you increase your rates of mortality. too long
  • High intensity exercises or HIIT are new age exercises integral to a healthy lifestyle.
  • Set a goal of 6000 to 10000 steps a day i.e. walking for 90 minutes. International physical activity guidelines state that you should get at least 150-300 minutes of physical activity a week.
  • Walk across to colleagues instead of sending an email
  • Take the stairs and avoid the elevator
  • Park your car further away from an entrance
  • Use an exercise ball for a chair
  • Use an upright wooden chair with no arm rest
  • Set a timer to remind you to move around
  • Stop sitting too much at home
  • Sit with proper posture, with your shoulders relaxed, up straight with arms close to your sides. Position your computer so that you’re looking straight at it (not up or down). Your  elbows should be bent at 90 degrees, feet flat on the floor and something behind your low back for support (a small, rolled up towel works).
  • Go shopping for groceries at a store rather than the internet

Stretches that Benefit Your Body after Sitting too Long

1. Supported back bend: To improve your spine.

2. Rotational lunge to build strength in your back and feet

3. Shoulder opener: to reduce stress in the shoulders

4. Star reach: stretches mid back, shoulders, chest, hips, and ankles

5. Low cobra with elevated feet or Hip flexors: Increases hip flexibility too long