New research shows that sitting for prolonged periods of time, say, behind a desk or in front of the TV, can shorten your life dramatically. In fact, some researchers seem to think that sitting too much may soon outpace tobacco as the number one killer of Americans. Just how does sitting too much affect your health? Being inactive for long periods of time, even if you exercise regularly, is horrible for your body in a variety of different ways.
Sit And Die
You probably do it all day at the office, but sitting might be increasing your risk for disease. That’s the finding of a new study recently published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Toronto researchers analyzed 47 separate studies related to sedentary behavior and found that sitting can lead to an increased chance of cardiovascular issues and cancer, as well as Type 2 diabetes.
Fourth Leading Cause Of Death
Sitting can also increase the likelihood of depression, hip or vertebral fracture, and colon and breast cancer, according to the World Health Organization, which lists inactivity as the fourth leading cause of death worldwide. The organization attributes 3.2 million deaths to sedentary behavior globally.
Not Sitting Won’t Help
Scientists previously believed that exercise could counteract the effects of sitting, but the new study says otherwise. The researchers adjusted data to reflect the amount someone exercised and found that the adverse effects of prolonged sitting still overshadowed the benefit of movement. They did find that the risk of disease was slightly mitigated by movement so you should still hit the gym, even if it’s almost pointless.
The Risk For Diabetes
One of the biggest impacts sitting can have on your health is the increased likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes. Sedentary activity for eight to 12 hours a day — or roughly a work day for most Americans — can increase the risk of developing the disease by 90 percent. Inactivity also affects weight and can be a contributing factor in obesity.
The Risk Of Cancer
A 2014 study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that sitting increases the risk of colon and endometrial cancer by 66 percent. Sitting even an additional two hours a day — at home, for instance — increased subjects likelihood of getting colon cancer by 8 percent and endometrial cancer by 10 percent.
The reason sitting may increase the likelihood of cancer is inactivity’s propensity for weight gain. Sitting obviously burns less calories than movement and the resulting weight gain can increase cancer-causing processes like inflammation or tumor formation. Obesity is also linked with lower levels of vitamin D, which in turn is associated with a higher risk of colon cancer.
Excess sitting over a long life can increase a senior’s likelihood of disability. That’s according to a study published last year in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health. Researchers found that for every hour spent inactive among people ages 60 and older, the individual’s likelihood of becoming disabled increased by 50 percent. This is bad news for grandma – the elderly spend more than two-thirds of their days sitting.
Increased Risk Of Heart Attack
If obesity, cancer, disability, and diabetes don’t kill you, a heart attack might. Researchers at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana studied more than 17,000 men and women over 13 years and found that people who sit for the majority of the day are 54 percent more likely to die of heart attacks.
An Increased Chance Of Kidney Disease
Add kidney disease to the quickly growing list of ailments sitters should worry about. Inactivity may increase the risk of the disease by at least 30 percent according to a 2012 study. The likelihood was particularly prevalent in women who sit more than three hours at work a day.
Sitting While Binging
When your binging all nine seasons of “How I Met Your Mother,” it’s hard to move from the comfort of your couch, but TV viewing in particular is linked with higher rates of cancer than other types of inactivity. Sitting while watching television can increase the risk of colon cancer by 30 percent and the risk of endometrial cancer by 34 percent compared to other sedentary behaviors.
Researchers recommend getting up between commercials or even standing while watching to help soften the effects of inactivity.
Sitting At The Office
Getting up to move about in the office might be a trickier sell for employees with strict bosses. Try continuously drinking water to increase the amount of necessary bathroom breaks and make sure to take a walk during your lunch break instead of beelining for the break room. Some offices are even installing standing desks to help keep their employees happy and alive.
Go For A Walk
All hope is not lost for you sedentary creatures. A more uplifting 2014 study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that short five minutes walks throughout the day can reverse impaired blood flow to legs. Without the short breaks, blood pools into the legs and hinders flow to the heart, increasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases by as much as 50 percent. Keep the blood pumping and you can, at the very least, lessen the effects of inactivity for a longer, healthier life.
New research shows that sitting for prolonged periods of time, say, behind a desk or in front of the TV, can shorten your life dramatically. In fact, some researchers seem to think that sitting too much may soon outpace tobacco as the number one killer of Americans. Just how...