While you are reading this, you are probably demonstrating very unhealthy behaviour. On average we are sitting 9 hours a day and that is risky for our health. Sitting too much is even fatal because there’s a direct relationship between time spent sitting and your risk of early mortality of any cause. And you can’t compensate it with half an hour of exercise.
Cycling, walking, gardening or cooking for half an hour is still the norm for exercise. But to compensate for the damage of sitting 8 hours a day, you have to exercise for at least an hour a day. That is what the latest research shows us.
And it also shows us that watching television is much more harmful than sitting in the office. Watching three hours of TV is just as damaging as working 8 hours in the office. We spend an average of 9 hours sitting a day in the Netherlands. In addition, young people spend a bit more time sitting on their butts, on average 10 hours a day.
Why is sitting so bad for you?
People who sit a lot are more prone to get diabetes, heart disease, depression, back pain, breast cancer or prostate cancer. In addition, there are 35 other chronic diseases that often occur to people who sit a lot.
Furthermore, sitting too long can also reduce your focus. When you are sitting, you are not actively working your musculoskeletal system or your cardiopulmonary system, which all affect how well the brain functions. Sitting too much can also affect your memory. Its negative impact on blood flow to the head is actually linked to the deterioration of the part of the brain that helps us retain both old memories and new information.
How do you get these diseases?
To answer this, we need to look at what happens in the body when you sit too much. Physiological studies look at how your food is digested, what happens to your muscles and whether things change in your brain and in your hormone system when you are sitting. Unfortunately, not much is known about it yet. After all, you cannot let people sit in a chair for years to do research. However, people can be examined for a short time. These brief investigations show that changes take place in your body when you are not sitting.
Researchers have recently find out that light physical activity such as cooking or even standing is good for the metabolism. When you are sitting, your metabolism slows down. If it becomes too slow, less sugar and fat is absorbed from the blood. This can lead to diseases as obesity and diabetes.
Sitting is unhealthy. So keep in mind that you should actually move throughout the day. If you have an office job, you can read this article to learn more about exercises you can do from behind your desk to keep your body healthy.