Health Risks of a Sedentary Lifestyle

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Spending too much time at your desk sitting (even if you do get the recommended 30 minutes a day of exercise) leads to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and even cancer. This is a bold statement, but the reality is that our bodies simply are not designed to sit for extended periods of time.

Sitting all day while we work, or more commonly called “having a sedentary lifestyle,” has only recently become a trending topic in health and fitness, but studies of the affect of sitting while working vs. standing (and moving) while working date back to the mid-twentieth century. In an article by Maria Masters (Men’s Health) she recounts a British study published in 1953 where scientists examined two groups of workers: bus drivers and trolley conductors. The bus drivers were more likely to sit down for their entire day, the trolley conductors were running up and down the stairs and aisles trolleys. As it turned out, the bus drivers were nearly twice as likely to die of heart disease as the conductors were.

Marc Hamilton, Ph.D. from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center has labeled this area of science “inactivity physiology.” He found that when the leg muscles are not used for a few hours, our levels of the enzyme lipoprotein lipase (LPL) drop off severely. This protein’s main role is to break down fat in the bloodstream to use as energy. He states simply, “humans sit too much… the cure for too much sitting isn’t more exercise. Exercise is good, of course, but the average person could never do enough to counteract the effect of hours and hours of chair time.”

Increased risks of heart disease and obesity are just a couple of the health hazards related to a sedentary lifestyle. Lower back and hip pain, poor balance and mobility are also associated with prolonged periods of sitting. The list of ailments caused by too much sitting goes on to include higher risks of diabetes, depression and even cancer. Christine Friedenreich, an epidemiologist at Alberta Health Services/Cancer Care suggests that her research has found that inactivity is linked to an additional 37,000 cases of cancer. The research that has been done in the last few years on the dangers of sitting is nothing short of alarming. Sitting has become the new smoking.

sedentary-cats-comicThe good news is that the solution is easy and quite natural — just reduce the amount of time spent sitting. Finding additional time in a hectic work day for more exercise can seem impossible, but with the LifeSpan Treadmill Desk taking the place of an office chair, not only can you eliminate the inactivity in your workday but you will find that you will have an increase in energy as well as productivity.

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One Comment

  1. I want to say I really enjoyed reading this post and I agree. Jobs where people sit all day are horrible and our bodies are not designed to just sit. I know my girlfriend complains about sitting all day at her job and even wants to get a stability ball to set on because she feels horrible after sitting all day. This shows how important it is to move like you would in a fitness boot camp for example. One thing I have heard mentioned is to get up and do pushups every so often. In the office world this is a tough problem to combat because you can’t always get up and walk around.

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