Prolonged Sitting Could Be Killing You

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Is prolonged sitting bad for your health? In this age of technological changes and innovations, we have evolved from a culture of ‘movers and shakers’ into one of ‘sitters and shakers’. In previous decades, people led more active lives. Kids use to play outside after school. Families walked together in the park or around the neighborhood.  In our present society, we are spending more and more time in front of the TV, or sitting around using our desktop computer, tablet, laptop, Iphone, blackberry, or ipad. I have even heard that some people are texting each other within the same household instead of  going to the next room to have a face-to-face conversation.

prolonged sitting

Working Out Regularly Is Not Enough To Prevent The Effects Of Prolonged Sitting

Latest research suggests that even if you work out routinely, you may still be affected by the negative effects of prolonged sitting. One study found that adults who spend six hours or more a day watching TV will reduce their life span by five years, compared with individuals who watch TV less often. In addition, those who watch TV the most were twice as likely to have diabetes or heart problem, compared to those who watched TV less often.

The studies concluded that those who are generally busy throughout the day have a healthier  heart and live longer than those who are inactive for most of the day.

Seniors Are More At Risk To Suffer The Ill Effects Of Prolonged Sitting

Not being a couch potato is particularly crucial for senior citizens, like myself.  If you’re older, it is very important to even spend more time engaged in everyday tasks, such as housework, yard word, hobbies -anything, actually, to reduce the time you spend in a seated position.

A significant part of the study found that seniors who lead a more active life, including daily exercise, reduce their chances of acquiring dementia, arthritis, diabetes, cancer, and other health and wellness troubles associated with growing older. Physical exercise and an active life enhances the chances of growing old sevenfold!

What Makes Prolonged Sitting So Bad for Your Health?

prolonged sitting

Most researchers agree that the reduction of muscle contraction brought on by prolonged sitting decreases blood circulation in your body. Consequently, the efficiency of the many body functions is reduced.  In addition, prolonged sitting contributes to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. Varied activities throughout the day – in addition to your regular fitness workouts – particularly standing up from a sitting position from time to time is crucial for health and durability.

Prolong sitting can also increase your chances of having a blood clot. I found this out the hard way. I had always been very active during my teaching and coaching career. When I retired from teaching and coaching several years ago, I couldn’t get away from the couch. Basically, all I did was eat and sit in front of the TV. One morning after awakening, I notice that one of my ankles had swollen tremendously. I knew something was wrong, so I went to the doctor immediately. To my surprise, my diagnosis was a blood clot in my left leg.

prolonged sitting

How To Limit The Effects Of Prolonged Sitting

Why is standing from time to time when you are on the computer or watching TV so important? The answer is simple. When you stand, your body works against the force of gravity. Your muscles have to contract when you stand, consequently burning calories and increasing circulation causing your body to work more efficiently. Prolonged sitting produces the exact opposite effect.  Think about what would happen to the body in a zero gravity environment – such as in outer space. In time,your muscles would essentially just waste away.

The take home point is to perform different daily activities – picking up something, yard work, reaching up to close the blind, walking up a flight of stairs – throughout the day that work against the force of gravity.  This keeps the body working efficiently all day, in contract to just working out for an hour and half a day and spending the remaining time sitting on the couch watching TV or working on your computer.

As stated earlier, there is powerful proof that many of the health and wellness troubles people suffer from today are associated with our sedentary way of life which is simply incompatible with optimal body functioning.  Obviously, the solution is to return to a way of life that involves more activity and movement.

prolonged sitting

Rather than auto parking yourself in front of your big screen TV or computer during most of the day, vary your activity by doing something different – walking, stretching, push-ups – or at the very least do some simple activity while working on the computer or watching the TV.  Also, remember to stand up every 10 to 15 minutes in order to neutralize most of the negative effects of prolonged sitting. Keep in mind that your morning or afternoon walk/run or workout at the gym is still essential but it’s also very important to avoid prolonged sitting.

 


2 Comments

  1. Lannie

    December 17, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    I’m planning my new approach for standing more. This posting will help me mobilize to more standing events in my normal day. YOU ROCK BROTHER!

  2. James Tillman

    February 2, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    Very good reading material! GOOD INFORMATION,

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