Is sitting around all day, either at your desk or in front of a television, bad for your health? Most people would quickly answer with a “Well, duh it is!” because it’s pretty obvious that it is not exactly healthy! But just how unhealthy is it? Researchers at the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that those who sit for prolonged periods of time are at a higher risk for developing heart disease and becoming obese. Further research done at the American Cancer Society found that even if you were to work out every day the health benefits of that exercise would be negated due to prolonged periods of sitting. The most shocking study, though, is from scientists at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana analyzed the lifestyles of more than 17,000 men and women over about 13 years, and found that people who sit for most of the day are 54 percent more likely to die of heart attacks!
So why exactly does sitting have such negative side effects on our bodies? While researchers don’t know the exact reasons yet, there are some explanations that can give us some insight into the matter. Some researchers suspect it has to do with an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase (LPL), which breaks down fat in the bloodstream and turns it into energy. When we sit these levels decrease and so does our ability to break down fat. Due to this our body tends to store more fat.
One big problem here is that for many people there are no other choices than to sit most of the day due to working either at home on their computers or in an office setting. Since regular exercise is not enough to offset the potential complications of sitting for prolonged periods of time, other measures should be taken to limit the potential damage done by sitting all day. One thing you could do is simply get up about every half-an-hour or so and move around. Just getting up and walking around or taking a few minutes to stand and stretch do quite a bit to get your blood circulating and provide an easy way to limit the negative effects of sitting.
Another thing you could do is try to work standing up more often. You don’t have to stand up all day, but you could try to split your time between sitting and standing. For example, if you spend a lot of time on the phone you could make it a habit of standing while talking on the phone. The point is to try to be creative. Find ways to remind yourself to get up every so often and become more active and make a habit out of it.Read More