Saturday, August 15, 2015

Too much Sitting Can Kill You

With advances in the modern world, the need to be active is significantly reduced. People can now spend the majority of their waking day in a chair watching television, working at a desk, ordering and receiving items in the comfort of their homes such as take-out and online shopping etc. There are many forms of locomotion that rid the need for walking.
People who sit too much every day are at an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and shorter life spans, even if they exercise, a new study finds. More than one-half of an average person's day is spent being sedentary — sitting, watching television or working at a computer.

You might think that an hour of exercise after eight hours at your desk might make up for all of that sitting, but to be truly healthy, you should try not to sit for such long stretches. Excessive sitting causes posture problems, reduces insulin function and increases the risk of obesity.
So, here are some tips for sitting a little less during the day:
  • Instead of sending an email or picking up the phone, get up out of your chair to ask your coworker that pressing question.
  • Make a coffee (or water) date with a coworker at a set time each day. Or, instead of sitting down with your cup of Joe, take a few laps around the office.
  • Set an alarm at your computer for around 3 p.m., and when it goes off, get up and go for a walk. Don't allow any excuses for missing your walk (unless, of course, you're in the middle of a performance review or presentation).
  • Never take the elevator when you can take the stairs. It may take a little more time, but that's time that your body is working, instead of just sitting there doing nothing.
  • Plan more active things to do than watching television after work. If it's a nice day, take a walk. You can also plan a fun family activity, such as bowling or min-golf. It'll be a great bonding experience that will get you all out of your chairs for at least an hour.
Now, a new study finds that sitting may be particularly harmful for women by raising their risk of developing several cancers. Women in the study who sat more than 6 hours a day were at a higher risk of developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer and the blood cancer multiple myeloma compared with women who sat less than 3 hours a day. Most men did not appear to be at an increased risk for cancer from too much sitting. Among men who were obese, however, sitting for long periods of time was associated with an 11 percent increased risk of developing cancer, according to the study, which was led by Alpa Patel, an epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society.

Moreover, people who spend too much time sitting down — be it during a daily commute, or in front of a computer or TV — may be at increased risk for anxiety, a new review finds.
Researchers looked at nine studies that assessed people's anxiety levels as well as their sedentary behavior, adding up how much time people spent doing activities like watching TV, working at a computer and playing video games. When examined together, the studies showed "moderate evidence" that increased sedentary behavior is associated with higher anxiety risk.

Several factors could explain the positive association between time spent sitting and higher all-cause death rates.Too much sitting impairs the body's ability to deposit fat from the blood stream into the body. Fat burning drops drastically to 1 calorie per min the moment we sit. In addition, it is observed that too much sitting during the day impairs the functioning of the body's good cholesterol, known as high-density lipoprotein (HDL) which is responsible for cleaning up plaque that sticks to arteries. Every 2 hours spent just sitting reduces blood flow, raises blood glucose and drops HDL by 20%.

In a nutshell, prolonged time spent sitting even if you adhere to the recommendation of 30 mins of moderate-intensity physical activity a day , has been shown to have important metabolic consequences, and may influence things like triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein, cholesterol, fasting plasma glucose, resting blood pressure and leptin, which are biomarkers of obesity and cardiovascular and other chronic diseases

The key here is breaking up sedentary time with light activities such as standing and normal paced walking. Studies have shown that insulin action improves with more standing time and stepping time. So sitting interrupted by a short 2 min bout of walking showed similar, significant reductions in post-meal glucose and insulin. These short breaks suggest that light activity plays a beneficial role in reducing the adverse effects or prolonged sitting, compared to having no interruptions at all.

So the importance of regular moderately vigorous exercise should continue to be emphasised in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. At this stage, everyone is encouraged to create opportunities to limit your sitting time at home, at work and during transportation and break-up long periods of sitting through frequent transitions from sitting to standing to walking as much as possible throughout the day. The key to minimising cardiovascular disease is "Stand up, sit less, move more, more often".

This is especially important for people who are in occupations which involve prolonged sitting (office workers, transport drivers and those who have to sit due to musculoskeletal disorders like osteoarthritis) which can be a barrier to participate in moderately intense activity as well. Watching TV for 6 hours a day takes away 5 years off your life. That's why reduce sitting time throughout the day as well as through a 5 min desk workout. Walking burns 3-5 times more calories that sitting does. So start from now, take every opportunity to walk around the office and interrupt sitting whenever you can. 

References: Sitting Down for Too Long May Increase Anxiety by Laura Geggel, Staff Writer 
                  June 19, 2015 
                  5 Tips for Sitting Less During Your Work Day by Deborah Enos, CN
                  March 14, 2012
                  Too Much Sitting, Too Little Exercise by GPBUZZ Magazine TTSH
                  Jul-Sept 2015

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