Avoid the Health Risks of Too Much Sitting

Over the last several years numerous articles about “The Sitting Too Much”, and sitting for prolonged hours are again coming to light.  Research on the physiologic health risks are piling up.  The research is pointing to a strong association between sitting and chronic disease.


“Inactivity physiology — the study of what the body does when it’s doing nothing — is a relatively new field. Richard Rosenkranz, assistant professor in Kansas State University’s department of human nutrition, calls it “unexplored terrain that’s being carved out in a hurry.”

One of those studies on humans was conducted by Hidde Van Der Ploeg, senior research fellow at the University of Sydney’s Sydney School of Public Health.

His team looked at data collected from 200,000 Australians. It found that adults who sat for 11 hours per day or longer had a 40 percent increased risk of dying over the next three years — compared to people who sat for fewer than four hours a day.

“We think that prolonged sitting is bad for your cardiovascular and metabolic health,” Van Der Ploeg said. “It seems to be bad for your ACL cholesterol, your triglyceride levels and insulin sensitivity.”

Craig Harms, professor of exercise physiology at Kansas State, “Briefly, what we know now is that sedentary behavior leads to increased triglyceride levels, decreased levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, decreased insulin sensitivity, metabolic syndrome, suppressed lipoprotein lipase activity in skeletal muscle, the enzyme for hydrolysis of triglyceride and decreased bone density,” Harms said. Several labs are studying the death-by-chair phenomenon, and Harms predicts we will know more about the physiology within a few years.Is there a benchmark for too much sitting? 
“According to Kansas State’s Rosenkranz – 4 hours.   Data from 63,000 middle-aged men, and his team linked time spent sitting and the likelihood of chronic disease. Men who sat for longer than four hours per day were significantly more likely to report having a chronic disease such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure, compared to men who sat for less than four hours per day. The association with diabetes and hypertension was strongest. The link to cancer is the most tenuous.”
“Lynette Craft, an adjunct assistant professor in preventive medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, and her colleagues found that women who exercise regularly spend as much time sitting as women who don’t.” Women are at high risk of sitting too long –  legal secretary those I have worked with site 8 hours a day with the pressure to help get out an attorneys documents ready for court.
All is still up in the air on this research but there is a very strong association between chronic disease and sitting for prolonged periods of time over 4 hours.You may want to consider a sit-stand work station and stand whenever possible or in your travels, via a train, or get up once an hour, stretch and move around to increase your circulation.  Maybe stand every 15 minutes to change physiologic dynamics.
Sitting could be the silent killer that will get you before you realize it.  Who knew Sitting would be the most adverse disease instigator… Technologies new Killer of your Health ~ Sitting!
Kate Montgomery ~ ERGOhealthy Coach ~ ERGOhealthy.com

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