Prolonged Sitting

Did you know that sitting around can be harmful to your health?

Researchers have linked prolonged sitting with high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and obesity.

We commonly hear experts say to participate in at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise 5 to 7 days a week. However, a new message is being promoted:

“Move More and Sit Less Throughout the Day.”

While it is still beneficial to your health and recommended to include regular exercise into your lifestyle, studies have found that exercising 30 minutes a day does not counteract the detrimental health effects that sitting around the rest of the day has on the body.

A study published in the journal Diabetologia in November 2012, found that those who sat for longer periods of time, had a 112 percent increase in their relative risk of developing diabetes; a 147 percent increase in their risk for cardiovascular disease; and a 49 percent greater risk of dying prematurely, even if they regularly exercised.

An Australian study published in October 2012 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, analyzed data and found after the age of 25, a viewer’s life expectancy was reduced by 21.8 minutes for every hour of television watched, presumably while sitting.

These are some scary statistics.  What is a person to do if they have to sit for their job, if they are afraid to move due to pain or fear of falling, or if they have a disability that prevents them from moving?

Dr. Joan Vernikos, author of “Sitting Kills, Moving Heals”, believes the key to counteract the ill effects of sitting is to repeatedly interrupt your sitting with frequent intermittent interactions with gravity.

Standing up from sitting is an easy way to interrupt sitting, but standing up 35 times at once will provide only a small percent of the benefit that standing up once every 20 minutes provides to your overall health.

A study published online on January 12, 2011 in the European Heart Journal, found that even for people who spent a long time sitting down, the more breaks they took during this time, the smaller their waists and the lower the levels of C-reactive protein (an important marker of inflammation).

For those of you, who sit for extended periods of time, set an alarm every 20 minutes during the day. This will remind you to interrupt your sitting position. If you are able, get up and stand a few seconds, stretch your body, and walk around.

If you are unable to stand due to a disability, at least change your body position to get pressure off your bottom and do ten repetitions of an exercise you can perform safely. Then you can return to your activity.

If you are able, try to adjust your activity so that you can perform part of the activity standing. They even make treadmill desks so you can walk and work at the same time.  If you are just watching television, how about standing or doing some form of exercise while watching the television.

If you are afraid to move due to pain, fear of falling, or have a disability, speak to your doctor or local physical therapist on what is the safest way to move your body. You may also benefit from adjusting your sitting surface to make it easier for you to get up out of your chair more often.

The bottom line is that sitting around all day is not good for your health. Once again, balance is the key. You need to balance your sitting time, rest/sleep time, and your activity if you want to age healthier and feel better.

Happy Day! Here’s to Helping You Move with Confidence!

One thought on “Prolonged Sitting

  1. Pingback: Chair Stands | At Home with Health Calls

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