The ticking clock and furious patter of computer keys are staples in offices around the world. Regardless of specific business, offices share many similarities. One such similarity is a sedentary culture and studies show all that sitting is taking a major toll on employee health.
Click Here to see the Complete List of Ways Sitting is Shortening Your Life
From the driver's seat to the office chair and then the couch at home, American's are spending more time seated than ever and researchers say it's wreaking havoc on our bodies. The Los Angeles Times recently interviewed Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative and inventor of the treadmill desk. Levine has been studying the adverse effects of our increasingly sedentary lifestyles for years and has summed up his findings in two sentences.
It’s widely known that exercise and a healthy diet are two major factors in maintaining a healthy weight, but there is a third important factor for weight control, according to researchers at the Mayo Clinic—moving throughout the day. In a study on weight gain and loss, where every aspect of diet and exercise was controlled in a lab, the researchers added 1,000 calories to all of the subjects daily diets. None of the people were permitted to exercise, but some people in the study were able to maintain their weight, while others gained weight. The researchers couldn’t understand why some were able to avoid gaining weight without exercise. How did they keep from gaining weight? Those who maintained their weight did so by unintentionally moving more throughout the day. Photo Credit: Shutterstock Click Here to See More Ways Sitting is Shortening Your Life
Sitting for extended periods effects blood sugar levels and insulin in the body, meaning not only are sedentary people more likely to be obese, but they are also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. An article published in Diabetologia examined the results of 18 studies with nearly 800,000 participants and determined that those who sat the most were twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes as the individuals who sat least. Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Muscles are healthiest when they are being used and challenged on a regular basis, so it’s not surprising that staying seated for eight or nine hours a day might bring some negative repercussions. Muscles are pliable but when locked in sitting position for the majority of the day, everyday, they do get stiff. After years of constantly sitting the body is used to sitting and not as proficient at running, jumping or even standing. Researchers believe this might be part of the reason elderly people have such a hard time getting around later in life. Photo Credit: Shutterstock Click Here to See More Ways Sitting is Shortening Your Life
LPL or lipoprotein lipase is an enzyme that breaks down fat and uses it as energy, when the enzyme isn’t working as it should, that fat is stored. In a study published in The Journal of Physiology, mice were tested for LPL levels in three states—laying down for most of the day, standing for most of the day and exercising. LDL activity in the laying mice was very low, levels rose more than 10 times when the mice simply stood but exercise had no additional effects on the LDL levels in the mice’s legs. The researchers expect the results to carry over in humans too. The larger point is that people can’t combat the effects of sitting with a half hour or hour of exercise alone—standing throughout the day is the answer. Photo Credit: Shutterstock
With hours and hours of sitting associated with higher sickness and mortality rates, who wouldn’t be depressed? The news is both terrifying and disheartening, but knowing about the risks isn’t the reason frequent sitters are more often depressed. Researchers say since sitting reduces circulation it’s harder for “feel-good hormones” to make their way to receptors. A study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine followed 9,000 middle-aged women and determined that those who sat longer and did not meet minimum exercise requirements suffered from depression at much higher rates compared with the women who sat less and exercised more. When it came to sitting, those who sat for more than seven hours a day were 47 percent more likely to suffer from depression than those who sat four hours or fewer. On the exercise front, women who didn’t exercise at all had a 99 percent higher risk of developing depression than those who met minimum exercise requirements. Researchers concluded physical activity could alleviate depression symptoms and likely prevent future symptoms. Related: 10 Ways Being Active Can Help with Depression .Click Here to See More Ways Sitting is Shortening Your Life Photo Credit: Shutterstock
"Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death.
Levine is credited with coining that mantra--"sitting is the new smoking"--but he's not the only one who believes it. Researchers have found and continue to find evidence that prolonged sitting increases the risk of developing several serious illnesses like various types of cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Another reason the smoking analogy is relevant is that studies have repeatedly shown the effects of long-term sitting are not reversible through exercise or other good habits. Sitting, like smoking, is very clearly bad for our health and the only way to minimize the risk is to limit the time we spend on our butts each day. If you need a bit more encouragement, take a look at all of the ways sitting is killing you...and then scour Pinterest to make your own standing desk.
Click Here to see the Original Story on The Active Times
- Diana Gerstacker, The Active Times
More Content from The Active Times: Better Sex, Healthier Teeth, Clearer Skin: 12 Surprise Benefits of Exercise 5 Things You Can Do Today That Will Help You Reach Your Weight Loss Goals 7 Reasons Your Weight Loss Goals Are Failing The Surprising Way Yoga Can Help You Lose Weight The Health Benefits of a Good Night's Sleep