Did you know sitting too much can cause you problems? Yes, there is research behind this. Sitting down is associated with a sedentary lifestyle and can be detrimental to your health. It even might be more dangerous than smoking! Here are five things you need to know about sitting disease.
What is Sitting Disease?
There have been several studies that have shown the consequences of sitting too much every day. Still, the most compelling for me is the American Cancer Society study finding women who were inactive and sat over 6 hours a day were 94% more likely to die over the study period. Sitting disease is also known as a sedentary lifestyle. It is characterized as the harmful effects of sitting too long. Sedentary behaviors are any activities that involve sitting, reclining, or laying down that involve a low energy output.
Even if you work out every day, you can overwrite the activity you did if you spent most of your day sitting or lying down during your leisure time. This is because you are not keeping up your non-exercise activity thermogenesis (N.E.A.T). The 30 minutes to one hour of activity may not be enough to combat prolonged sitting. According to a study over 15 years, prolonged sitting was associated with an early death risk even with exercise.
Sitting Disease Affects on the Body
Sitting for prolonged periods can slow down the metabolism, impair blood sugar regulation, reduce blood pressure control, and decrease fat breakdown. This, in turn, will increase the risk factors for lifestyle-related conditions like:
- Heart Disease
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Some Cancers
- Early Death
- Depression and Anxiety
- Cognitive Decline
Overall the more sedentary you are, the higher your risk of these bodily affects.
Causes of Sitting Disease
With the increase of technology and time-saving solutions, the world has become more sedentary. We are making our lives easier, but we are getting sicker from not moving as much. In addition to technological advances, our jobs are becoming more sedentary. According to the American Heart Association, sedentary jobs have increased by 83% since 1950, and our work weeks are longer by 350 extra hours a year. That’s a long time sitting!
How to be Less Sedentary
First, you have to know if you are considered sedentary. Here are the signs you might be considered sedentary:
- You are tired all the time
- Increased weight, and you’re not sure why
- Get easily winded
- Unable to sleep
- Mental health is suffering
Decreasing your risk for sitting disease is more than just hitting your recommended amounts of exercise. On top of the minimum recommendation of 150 minutes most days of the week, you should be increasing your non-exercise activity thermogenesis. You can increase your NEAT by simply doing regular activities around your house or office more often and, for example, sitting getting up every 30 minutes from your desk to stretch and increase your blood flow.
How to Increase Activity Levels
There are less than 20% of us that have active jobs. Since working takes up most of our day, we have to find ways to be more active on top of daily exercise. Here are some helpful tips to sit less and move more:
- Park further from the door when going to work or stores
- Get up from your desk every 30 minutes and stretch
- Do arm exercises at your desk or tap your feet underneath while working
- Enjoy the outdoors and go to the park
- Get a dog and walk them multiple times a day
- Take up gardening and spend time caring for plants
- Get up during commercial breaks while watching tv and move
- Try to learn fun social media dances while scrolling
- Get a fitness tracker and set reminders during the day to move!