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If you really want to improve your health in 2015, then resolve not to sit so much, or at least not for long periods. Scientists say prolonged sitting is as bad, possibly even worse, for your health as smoking. It effectively undoes all the good work you do by eating healthily and exercising regularly. Here’s a short animated ASAPscience video by two cool Canadians, Mitch and Greg, on how and why sitting is such a clear and present danger. Scroll down afterwards for their short video of nine tops tips to save your life by reducing the negative effects of too much sitting. MS
Sitting can be a nice break from a busy day, but considering many of us spend our entire work day at a desk followed by down time in front of a computer or TV , one has to wonder how exactly is sitting affecting your body
The answer is pretty shocking.
As soon as you sit down, the electrical activity in your muscles drops significantly, and your calorie burning rate plummets to about one calorie a minute. After only three hours of sitting, there is 50% drop of artery dilation and as a result a decrease in blood flow.
Sit for 24 hours straight and insulin in your body loses nearly 40% of its ability to uptake glucose, which increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes
Things only get worse from here.
After two weeks of sitting for more than six hours a day, LDL cholesterol, sometimes called bad cholesterol, is increased along with other fatty molecules putting you at a greater risk for weight gain. On top of this, the enzymes responsible for breaking down fats plunge, and because of the prolonged inactivity, your muscles begin to break down, gradually break the contractions become weaker, ultimately impeding the pumping of blood to your heart.
Even if you work out regularly, the minute you stop moving the deterioration begins again in proportion to your sitting time. And that’s the scary part.
Research shows just as exercise doesn’t necessarily counteract the negative effects of something like smoking, it doesn’t counteract the negative effects of too much sitting A year later the effects begin to compound, and some studies in women have even shown a decrease in bone mass upwards of 1% every year.
Think your brain is more important than your body? Physical movement not only helps pumps blood and oxygen to your brain but also sends mood enhancing hormones. When we don’t move, brain function begins to slow down
Perhaps the most shocking is that after 10 to 20 years of sitting for six hours a day you may have lost up to seven quality adjusted life years, that is, years without medical issues or death. For example, risk of dying from heart disease increases by 64%, while the risk of prostate or breast cancer increases by 30% .
If everybody sat for no more than three hours a day, it is estimated that the average life span would rise by two years.
Simply put, our bodies aren’t designed to be sedentary and sitting for eight hours a day at work is just as bad for those who go home and watch tv, as for those who head up the gym.
It can literally be a lethal activity
So what’s the best solution. We put together a list of nine top tips to fight the sitting epidemic (see video below) no matter how lazy you are, using scientific research and clever tricks to make it easy.
Nine simple tips to help prolong and save your life:
1. Sitting for long periods throughout your life is really killing you. There is one simple thing you can do to negate all these effects, and that’s just stand up. Scientists have found that taking a simple five minute break every hour or so to walk around your office or classroom will literally remove the negative effects that sitting has.
2. Get a standing desk. OK, truthfully, actually after standing for about 10 minutes, we both always complain about how tired we are because we are so weak, and we sit back down. But the beauty is that’s really all you need, and it’s just nice every once in a while when you feel like having a stretch to have the option of just zooming your whole desk up.
3. Drink more water; not only is water refreshing and healthy, but you’ll be getting up from your desk more, because you’ll have to pee.
4. If you’re in an office or other place of work, get up from your desk and go talk to someone instead of just emailing or texting them.
5. If you need something from across the room, instead of rolling yourself there, why don’t you just get up.
6. Use an exercise ball. It forces you to activate a lot more muscles while sitting, and can be a lot of fun.
7. Park at the back of the parking a lot. I love this one because I hate parking near anybody else, so not only will you find a parking space more easily, easier, but over the course of your lifetime that extra walking is significant.
8. Stand up during phone calls or texting.
9. Use a pedometer on your body or as an app on your phone to count your steps during the day. To give you a ball park: obese people generally step around 1500 steps a day, and sit for 600 minutes, whereas really fit people like farmers are taking almost 5000 steps and sitting for less than 300 minutes. The biggest crux of it all is simply inactivity, but it’s not about going crazy and doing so much exercise; it’s about consistently breaking up the sitting periods.