We all know by now how detrimental sitting all day can be for your overall health, specifically your heart health. And the sad fact of the matter is that no matter how often you exercise, or how vigorously you exercise, sitting for over 8 hours a day, every Monday through Friday, and than sitting on the couch at home to relax, is doing horrible things to your heart health. There’s been quite a lot of recent research on sitting and heart health, but a study has just come out shedding even more light on the ineffectiveness of exercise after sitting all day.
“Heavy sitters showed a 90% higher risk of developing diabetes than those who sat less, an 18% higher chance of dying of heart disease or cancer, and 24% greater odds of dying from any cause. These rates were the average among people who both exercised regularly and those who did not.”
Researchers looked at nearly 50 studies conducted on the subject of sitting and health, and found that no amount of exercise can make up for the detrimental effects that sitting all day has on your body.
Sitting’s Negative Health Effects
Check out these ridiculous statistics on sitting and your heart health from Time.com:
- Researchers studied the lifestyles and behaviors of more than 17,000 men and women over 13 years and discovered people who sit for the majority of their day have a 54% greater risk of dying from a heart attack.
- A survey of 63,048 Australian men found that men who sat for more than four hours a day were much more likely to suffer chronic ailments like heart disease and diabetes than men who sat for fewer.
- A 2011 study found that every hour of TV people watched after age 25 was linked to a deduction of 22 minutes from their overall life expectancy.
- People with more sedentary jobs are more likely to be overweight than people who sit less. Research suggests that since more jobs require people to sit at a desk, Americans are burning 120 to 140 less calories a day than they did 50 years ago.
Sitting and Circulation
According to Forbes.com, sitting caues a rapid drop in a circulating blood enzyme called lipase that is responsible for breaking down fat. One study puts this drop at 90% – a virtual shut down. In addition, electrical activity in our leg muscles radically decreases the longer we sit, and that means that our metabolic rate slows to a crawl, to about one calorie per minute. And one of the most dangerous outcomes of sitting for extended periods is that our bodies become less sensitive to the insulin our pancreas is busy producing (24% less sensitive according to one study), and that skyrockets the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
What Can You Do
Well, you could get a new job, but that is probably not realistic for most of us. But there are some things that you can do to improve your health by avoiding sitting all day, even if you have a desk job.
- Have walking meetings! Seriously, when you have meetings at work, have them be working and walking meetings. Studies have shown that walking meetings are far more productive anyways.
- Talk on the phone and pace.
- Get a standing desk.
- Take walking breaks once every hour where you mingle with co-workers or walk about the building.
- Don’t use the VIP parking, even though you worked hard to get that first space.
- Don’t use in-office chat or emails, get up and walk to your co-workers for conversations.
- Buy a treadmill and walk while watching TV.
- Choose yoga or walks around the block to relax at the end of the day.
- Go dancing!
There are so many ideas for getting up and away from your desk while still remaining productive. Take responsibility and control of your health and find excuses to get up!