The truth about sitting down!
Do you know why sitting is killing you?
If I would ask you ‘how many hours did you sit today?’ What would be your answer?
Maybe you work in an office job 8 hours a day, sitting in a chair working in front of the computer? You might travel to work in sitting position, by car or public transport? Do you watch some TV in the evenings, read a book or chat with friends/family… also sitting down? So how many hours will that be all together?
Did you ever think, all this sitting down might be killing me?
Please read on. When I first find out I was shocked, it opened my eyes. Maybe yours too?
It might shock you to hear that scientific research states that sitting for more than 6 hours a day makes you up to 40% likelier to die within 15 years than if you sit less than 3 hours a day. Even if you exercise… Scary isn’t it?
Did you know that physical inactivity is the fourth leading cause of death globally? The World Health Organization (WHO) states that inactivity is causing an estimated 3.2 million deaths globally.
So how can sitting kill you? What are the dangers of sitting too long? Well, sitting too long can cause…
People with sitting jobs have twice the chance on cardiovascular disease as people with standing jobs. When you sit for a longer time your muscles burn less fat and your blood flows slower. Therefore it is easier for fatty acids to more easily clog the heart. When you sit for a long time you are prone to higher blood pressure and elevated cholesterol.
The pancreas, a gland organ located in the abdomen, is part of the digestive system. It produces insulin and other important enzymes and hormones that help break down foods. Insulin is a hormone that carries glucose to cells for energy. But cells in inactive muscles do not respond as easily to insulin, so the pancreas produces more and more. This can lead to diabetes and other diseases.
Studies have linked sitting to a greater risk of colon, breast and endometrial cancer. There are several studies. It is said that too much insulin stimulates cell growth. Another suggests that regular movement stimulates natural antioxidants that kill cell-damaging and potentially carcinogenic free radicals.
When you sit you don’t use your muscles. And when you don’t use your muscles you lose them. Especially when you are hanging a bit in a chair, your abdominal muscles go unused. This can cause back problems. In example exaggerating the spine’s natural arch, called hyper lordosis.
Lack of activity can cause osteoporosis. Because when you are active you stimulate your bones to grow thicker.
Not moving your legs means poor circulation in the legs. Therefore all sorts of circulation problems can occur, varicose veins, swollen ankles or dangerous blood clots called deep vein thrombosis.
IMMOBILITY IN THE HIPS
When you sit a lot you don’t move your hips much so they become tighter, less flexible. Flexible hips keep you balanced. The reason elderly people tend to fall is because of decreased hip mobility.
Most people working in front of computers tend to bend their neck a lot. And most people looking on their phones a lot tilt their head. In both cases, the neck can strain the cervical vertebrae and lead to permanent imbalances.
When you move your blood circulates around the body. Blood caries oxygen and nutrients, also to the brain. When you sit a long time, the blood flow decreases and therefore you might have the feeling being in the clouds, or having a foggy brain. You don’t feel as much as alert as you used to be. It can even become that bad that you feel depressed.
PAINFUL SHOULDERS AND BACK
If you sit in the same position for a longer period of time and not moving a lot, you might get sore shoulders and back. It starts first with a bit of a stiffness in the trapezius muscle (that connects the shoulders to the neck), then soreness and can become so painful that it might affect your daily life.
People who sit more are at greater risk for herniated lumbar disks. A muscle called the psoas travels through the abdominal cavity and, when it tightens, pulls the upper lumbar spine forward. Upper-body weight rests entirely on the ischial tuberosity (sitting bones) instead of being distributed along the arch of the spine.
So what do you think?
Will you now change something in your life? I did after knowing all this. I am now much more aware of my daily sitting. If I don’t need to sit, I stand, move around.
Of course, that is easier for me to say than someone in an office job. As a massage therapist and massage teacher we move a lot. And we prevent ailments for ourselves and others. Amazing job!
Anyway, I just realized I am sitting already quite some time writing this down for you. I must move again…
Stay happy & healthy and… don’t sit too much!
PS: Maybe it is time for you too, to sit less and change career? Or maybe you do like your regular job and just like to move a bit more making your friends and family happier and healthier besides your regular job? Also that is possible. Check out our Massage Therapy Program here.