Yes! I really believe this is the case. Sitting is the new smoking.
As it turns out, the key to solving obesity and other chronic diseases often attributed to obesity has been 'sitting' in front of us the whole time. The research has been flooding in and it appears irrefutable that sitting is killing us.
What's more sitting is an equal opportunity afflict er attacking all ages, ethnicities, and BMIs.
In other words, you can have a normal BMI and still have sitting disease!!!!!
What is Sitting Disease?
While it is important to note the term Sitting Disease is a term coined by the scientific community and not officially embraced by the medical community--at least not yet--most doctors agree with it's effects.
Sitting Disease is a condition of sedentary behavior that robs us of 1,500 to 2,400 potential calories burned per day.
Our bodies have evolved over time to stand upright and are meant to be in motion. Extended periods of sitting equals a decrease in body movement. The figure at the top gives you an astounding picture of the typical American day. Sitting in the car, at the dinner table, at work or watching TV leaves little time where we are actually on our feet. We are not expending the energy we would if we were standing. Sitting or lying doesn't require muscle contraction of our legs, back, abdominals etc. which in turn decreases the blood flow to our limbs. Our bodies are just not designed to accommodate a position that diminishes blood flow to our legs and feet.
A few of the Consequences of Sitting Disease
- Burning 3 times fewer calories than standing thus causing drastic decreased metabolism
- Increased cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar. while lowering good HDL
- Increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and even depression
- contortion of the spine causing tight hamstrings and hips which in turn leads to back pain
That is just the beginning. Honestly, the statistics are staggering and I encourage you to check them out for yourself. It is easy to see as a culture, sitting disease is epidemic.
Sitting contributes to nearly all chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and obesity.
According to James Levine, unhealthy affects of sitting add up. For example, the death rate of men who sit more than 6 hours per day had an overall death rate that was 20% higher than men that sat 3 hours or less. For women, it was 40% higher. Furthermore, for each hour of television a person sits and watches per day, the risk of dying rises 11%.
Have I gotten your attention yet??? I don’t know about you about. But, this scares the crap out of me. As Dr. Levine is famous for saying, there is nothing about the human physiology that is designed to sit. Everything about us is designed for movement.
In fact, even the brain designed for controlling movement is adversely impacted . When the brain incurs a chronic amount of sitting it undergoes a general malaise. This malaise can be readily observed in just about every office building across america.
Another jaw dropping finding is that one hour of vigorous exercise per day may not be enough to offset the large amounts of sitting.
This explains why so many struggle with their weight, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels. Researchers say that the key is less sitting and more movement throughout the entire day.
What you can do about it
At this point, it should be readily apparent that individually and as a culture we have got to find ways to reduce the amount of time we are sitting in a given day.
Simply standing will help mitigate the harmful affects of sitting. Given the work of muscles necessary to hold the body's weight upright, standing can double the metabolic rate.
NEAT IS THE KEY
“Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is the energy expended for everything we do that is not sleeping, eating or sports-like exercise. It ranges from the energy expended walking to work, typing, performing yard work, undertaking agricultural tasks and fidgeting. Even trivial physical activities increase metabolic rate substantially and it is the cumulative impact of a multitude of exothermic actions that culminate in an individual's daily NEAT.” www.ncbi.nlm.nih.go
“It is now irrefutable that sitting down is not a good thing. People die sooner.” James Levine, MD, PhD, Mayo Clinic
Put simply, our hearts, minds and bodies are designed to MOVE.
To learn more on the topic I suggest you check out the following resources: