Sitting down is a great way to take the weight off your feet. But too many of us sit all day at work and drive home (sat down). When we're home we sit down in front of a TV, games console or computer all evening. You have to wonder; do we sit down too much? Does this affect our bodies?
The answer is pretty shocking so you might want to stand up for this.
As soon as you sit down the electrical activity in your muscles drops. Your calorie-burning rate falls to about one calorie burned per minute. This is a significant drop.
Sit for three hours and you reduce your artery dilation by as much as 50%. This means your blood flow decreases.
If you’re sat for 24 hours straight the insulin in your body loses large amounts of its ability to uptake glucose. This increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
And it only gets worse from here.
After two weeks of sitting for six hours a day, cholesterol increases. This along with other fatty molecules putting you at risk of weight gain. As well as this, the enzymes responsible for breaking down fats plunge. And because of lengthy times of inactivity, your muscles begin to break down. Muscle contractions become weaker, This reduces the pump of the blood to your heart.
Ready for more grim news?
Over the years the effects only increase. The older we are the more damage happens. Your bones begin to lose their mass as well as further muscle deterioration. It can even take its toll on your brain. Physical movement not only helps pump blood and oxygen to the brain. It also sends mood enhancing hormones. When we don't move, brain function begins to slow down.
The most shocking of all is that after 10-20 years of sitting for six hours a day, you may have lost seven 'quality-adjusted life years.'
Quality-adjusted life years are years lived without medical issues or death. For example, the risk of dying from heart disease increases by 60%. If everybody sat for no more than three hours a day, it's estimated that the average lifespan would rise by two years.
Our bodies aren't designed to be sedentary. Sitting for eight hours a day at work like I'm doing right now can be a lethal activity. It's no wonder some health experts are calling sitting down the new smoking!
So what can we do to avoid this?
So many of us work sat down. We drive everywhere. We sit in our lounges and let's be honest, it would be weird if we stood up to watch TV or read. Maybe, when we attend those work meetings, we could do them stood up. Take a couple of minutes every hour to walk around the office. Take a walk during our breaks. What would you do?