More and more people are employed in office positions where sitting for long periods of time is mandatory. If they are not sitting at their desk typing, they are sitting in meetings or sitting during their lunch period. Even children are affected. They are expected to sit still in school for many hours with brief breaks for recess and gym class. This is very different from our agrarian roots, when walking and physically working for long periods was necessary for survival.
Over the years, researchers have conducted numerous studies on how our increasingly sedentary lifestyle is affecting our health. Their findings have been alarming. There are many adverse health effects that have been linked to sitting for long periods of time. Some of these conditions cause chronic health problems while some others can be deadly. Here are some of the adverse health effects that have been associated with long periods of sitting daily.
A recent study conducted by University of South Carolina researchers took a look at sedentary lifestyle and heart disease risk. They studied adult men, the amount of time spent sitting each day, and their risk of dying from heart disease. The amount of time sitting in their car commuting, sitting at their desk, and sitting watching television were included. The information was compiled for over a period of 21 years. The results of the study were published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
The men who spent significantly more time each day sitting had a much higher risk of dying from heart disease. Even among men who were physically active on a routine basis, sitting for long periods of time increased their risk. The results seem to indicate that simply exercising is not enough to combat the effects of sitting. It is important to get up frequently and move around, even if it just means walking around the office.
An increase in Americans living a mainly sedentary lifestyle has also been linked to increased diabetes rates in the population. People that sit for long periods of time tend to have a slower metabolism because their muscles are not exercising. Add to this an increased urge to snack while sitting and the health implications are alarming. The number of adults and children diagnosed with type II diabetes has substantially increased over the years. Sitting for long periods without exercise is considered to be a prime cause of the problem.
Many experts recommend getting as much exercise as you can during the day to offset the effects of sitting. Instead of calling your colleague across the office, walk over to have the conversation in person. After eating your lunch, take some time to take a brisk walk around the building. Park your car farther away from the entrance so you can get some exercise walking to and from the door. By changing some everyday habits, you can increase the amount of exercise that you get each day.