1: The Dangers of Prolonged Sitting
For people who sit most of the day, their risk of heart attack is about the same as smoking.
—Martha Grogan, Mayo Clinic Cardiologist
The American Medical Association (AMA) agrees that sitting for extended periods of time is extremely detrimental to health. Their newly adopted policy recommends business organizations offer sitting alternatives, including standing desks.
Excessive sitting impacts our body’s metabolic system: “Today, our bodies are breaking down from obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, depression and the cascade of health ills and everyday malaise that come from what scientists have named sitting disease”
—James Levine, MD, PhD
Health Consequences of Sitting
The study done by the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise also found that there are significant health risks for those who spend most of their time sitting. Over the course of 13 years, those in the study who sat for most of the day were 54% more likely to die of heart attacks.
While that might be the scariest risk, there are others too, such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and a variety of cancers that can cause an early death. Here are some of the most common ways that long term sitting negatively affects you:
1. Weakened Muscles
Sitting in an office chair all day means that none of the most important muscle groups in your body are getting the activity they need. In order to properly support you, your muscles need to stay active daily.
2. Heart Risk
Because sitting has a negative effect on blood sugar and blood fat levels in the body and long term sitting can be linked to heart disease. Sitting can reverse a well-intended workout. Heart disease can prove fatal, and in the early stages it can produce heart attacks.
3. Weight Gain
The body naturally breaks down fat in the blood stream, but when you are sitting all day, your circulatory system slows down significantly. This is why the average person will gain an average of 16 pounds just 8 months after starting an office job. It’s no wonder why obesity is often associated with long term sitting.
4. Links to Type II Diabetes
Sitting burns about a calorie per minute, about half of what you would burn by standing. This inactivity can cause insulin levels to plunge, leading to a
higher risk of developing Type II Diabetes, especially in women.