Scientist believe that people sitting down on the job for more than 6 hours a day is more at risk of developing health problems. Everyday people spend long periods sitting. From the breakfast table to the car seat, then the office chair for over eight hours. Next is at the dinner table, followed by the sofa infront of their Sydney entertainment units watching television. All day long people are simply shifting from one chair to the other. Furthermore, conveniences brought by technology allow us to eliminate physical activity. The internet enables us to do shopping, banking and socializing with friends even working in our comfortable chairs. These sedentary lifestyles are killing us.Studies show that too much sitting is more dangerous than smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. Smoking causes 5 million deaths per year worldwide while 5.3 million people died due to lack of physical activity.
Sedentary lifestyle poses several health risks as sedentary jobs increases over the years. There are several research made on the dangers of sedentary lifestyle. Heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer are the global health threats identified by the United Nations World Health Organization linked to physical inactivity.Journal of the National Cancer Institute published a study which looked at more than 4 million individuals and 68,936 cancer cases. They found out that sitting for long periods of time increases the risk of colon, endometrial, breast and lung cancer, and the risk gets worst with each two hour increase in sitting time.American Journal of Epidemiology published a study that indicates that people who sat more than six hours a day have a higher mortality rate compared to people who sit for 3 hours or less.
The largest studies in the effect of sedentary lifestyles were conducted by Loughborough University and the University of Leicester. Researcher assessed nearly 800,000 people from different countries. They found strong evidence linking excessive sitting to poor health. People who sit most in a chair have 112% higher risk of developing diabetes, 147% higher risk of suffering from stroke and heart disease and 49% increase risk of death from any cause. The sitting disease is associated with a variety of inactivity related conditions. Studies show that exercise doesn’t cure the sitting disease. The long term effect of prolong sitting is not reversible through exercise or diet. The only way to minimise the risk is to limit the sitting time everyday and doing low-intensity contractual activity throughout the day.
Our body is designed to be active. The moment it becomes idle our bodily systems become less efficient. Our metabolism slows down causing the fat-burning enzymes to stop breaking down triglycerides. The longer we sit our fat burners decrease by 50% making us store more fats. This cause obesity and metabolic syndrome including the conditions such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar and abnormal cholesterol levels. Each hour we sit the levels of artery deposits in our blood vessels increase by 14%. Sedentary people have fluctuating insulin levels and increased blood lipids. The accumulation causes heart disease and diabetes.
If sedentary lifestyle is killing us, what can we do about it? The solution seems to be reducing our sitting time and moving. Getting consistent activity throughout the day keeps our metabolism working in high gear. Movement even leisurely ones can help us burn more calories leading to weight loss. Even with a minimal effort we can see the difference. Regular physical activity has many health benefits. It reduces our risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and weakened bones. Physical activity also releases endorphin; this makes us feel more positive which boost our productivity.
There are many things we can do to mitigate the effects of excessive sitting. Reduce your sitting time with these tips:
- Try to stand rather than sit if you have a chance. Stand while talking on the phone.
- Change your work station. Replace your regular desk with standing desk or improvise with a high table or counter.
- Replace your wheely desk chair with regular chair so you have to get up and move around your work space.
- Try to walk around the office every hour. Keep a small glass of water on your desk so that you will have a reason to stand to refill it.
- Exercise as you work. Gentle exercise like leg raise can increase your metabolic rate.
- Take the stairs rather than taking the lift.
- If you’re commuting to work, walk to the station instead of taking the bus.
- Join an exercise club.
- Walking the dog, dancing or playing with the kids promotes physical activity and good health.