What Happens When You Sit? (It’s Worse Than You Think)


When you sit for an extended period of time (more than an hour) your muscles and body start to shut down at the metabolic level. Your calorie-burning rate immediately plunges and key fat burning enzymes responsible for breaking down triglycerides (a type of fat) simply start switching off. Prolonged sitting increases your risk for heart disease because enzymes that keep blood fats in check are inactive. Moreover, the less you move, the less blood sugar your body uses and so the risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases. The muscle activity needed for standing and other movement seems to trigger important processes related to the breakdown of fats and sugars within the body. When you sit, these processes stall- and your health risks increase. When you’re standing or actively moving, you kick these processes back into action. One recent study compared adults who spent less than two hours a day in front of the TV or other screen based time with those who logged more than four hours a day of screen time. Those with greater screen time had:

-A nearly 50 percent increased risk of death from any cause.

-About 125 percent increased risk of events associated with cardiovascular disease, such as chest pain (angina) or heart attack.

The increased risk was separate from other traditional risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as smoking or high blood pressure.

If this all wasn’t enough, here is one more thing to consider. If you sit for an extended period each day, research suggests that 30 minutes in the gym may not be enough to counteract the detrimental effects of sitting. The impact of movement-even leisurely movement- can be profound. For starters, you will burn more calories which might lead to weight loss and increased energy. Small movements performed throughout your day can significantly thwart effects of sitting. The best part is that doing simple movements throughout your day only requires subtle changes to your daily workout routine. Small modifications can improve muscle memory, tone and metabolism, decrease stress and increase productivity, and help your body counter the health detriments of sitting. So, in addition to your daily workout routine, make a big effort to make small movements throughout the day. These are some easy steps you can take to counteract these negative effects and preserve your health:

– Stand or pace when talking on the phone.

– Take the stairs, not the elevator.

– Set your phone alarm every 30 or 60 minutes and stand or move for 2 minutes.

-Take a walk and talk meeting with colleagues rather than sitting during a meeting.

– Stand when doing desk work. Place computer on higher table or desk.

– Walk fast and take longest route to get coffee, water, make copies, use bathroom etc.

-Position you work surface above a treadmill-with a computer screen and keyboard on a stand or specialized treadmill-ready vertical desk.

Have fun coming up with creative ideas to stay moving while sitting at your desk all day!
Cited from Wellness Council of America. WLCOA www.welcoa..org and www.mayoclinic.com

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