We’ve known for many years that sitting is bad for us, but we never thought that sitting could actually kill us, until now. Desk jobs require us to sit at least eight hours a day, and then in addition to that sitting for extended periods of time at home while watching television can only add to the risks.
Sitting increases risk of death
If you sit all day at work and then sit at home afterwards, this pertains to you. If you think you’re immune to this just because you put in the extra effort each day to exercise, you should know that even that might not be enough to combat the damage that’s being done while sitting down. To cut down the risk of sitting for extended periods of time, we must reduce the time. That’s right, only reducing the time we sit can help.
On average, we sit about nine hours per day between work and home. Only an hour of our time per day is spent doing medium intensity activities such as exercise and six hours per day is used for low intensity activity such as walking or standing. These numbers need to change drastically is we want to improve our health.
Sitting ruins our bodies
Did you know that people with desk jobs have twice the rate of cardiovascular disease as people with standing jobs? When you sit down, electrical activity in the leg muscles shuts off completely, enzymes that help to break down fat in your body drop about 90 percent, and calorie burning drops to one per minute. After around two hours of sitting, your good cholesterol drops 20 percent. Finally, after 24 hours, insulin effectiveness drops 24 percent and your risk of getting diabetes rises.
What we can do to fix it
If you want to get paid, a desk job is pretty inevitable. Eight hours of sitting a day on the other hand is not acceptable. Aside from getting in the 30 minutes of exercise a day that you should already be doing, try to interrupt sitting at much as possible. This means that whenever you get the chance, get up to stretch, walk around or even do some jumping jacks if you’re really feeling ambitious. A great way to ensure that you’ll be getting up frequently is by drinking a lot of water. This in turn will help you stay hydrated and will be an excuse to get up and go to the bathroom a couple times an hour.
After work, sitting on the couch to watch your favorite TV shows is very common. What a lot of people don’t realize is that this is deadly, especially after a day full of sitting. Those who sit three hours or more per day watching TV are 64 percent more likely to die from heart disease. Another interesting statistic is that for those who sit in front of the TV three hours per day, those who exercise are just as fat as those who don’t. It’s important to also keep in mind that every extra hour of watching TV is equal to 11 percent higher death risk.
In order to prevent problems in the future, it’s imperative to be aware of the dangers of sitting for extended periods of time and do something to change it now. Get up and move around more frequently during work and instead of sitting in front of the TV, try doing lunges or squats while watching or another activity besides sitting. Developing little changes into your routine can do wonders for your body and could even save your life.
Alicia Simone is a freelance writer and health advocate. She has done plenty of research on nutrition and health care, including looking at programs like adn to msn usf – University of San Fransico. She’s learned a great deal about the field and hopes to continue learning more through her research.