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Health Care
Jan 1, 2015

Is Sitting Killing You?

Sponsored Content provided by Chris McAbee - Owner of Wilmington Performance Lab, Live Oak Bank Wellness Coordinator, Wilmington Performance Lab

According to recent studies, the average American sits for more than six hours per day (55 percent of waking time) doing sedentary behaviors, such as sitting, which causes a significant impact on health and well-being. The typical work day consists of a 20 to 30 minute drive to work; sitting in front of a computer for three to four hours with minimal breaks to move around; going to lunch; returning to a computer for three to four hours; driving home; and sitting on the couch for the remaining three to four hours of the day to watch TV or eat dinner. 

This lifestyle is wreaking havoc on our health. A 2010 American Cancer Society Study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, followed 123,216 individuals (69,776 women and 53,440 men), from 1993 to 2006 and found the following: that women who were inactive and sat more than six hour a day were 94 percent more likely to die during the time period studied than those who were physically active and sat less than three hours a day. Men were 48 percent more likely to die than their standing counterparts. The scary part is that these findings were independent of physical activity levels, meaning that an hour a day of exercise does not offset the risks associated with hours spent in a seated position.

Why is sitting so bad for your health?

Immediately after you sit down, the electrical activity in your muscles slows down and your calorie-burning rate drops to one calorie per minute, a third of what it does if you are walking. Sitting for prolonged periods also can affect insulin sensitivity and glucose uptake, which can quickly lead to Type II diabetes. After a week of sitting more than six hours per day our bodies begin to see an increase in triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and insulin resistance. This means that your muscles aren’t taking in fat and your blood sugar levels are elevated, directly leading to weight gain.

Continuing to sit for longer than six hours per day over the course of several years has been shown to lead to:

  • Weight gain
  • High cholesterol
  • Hypertension
  • Muscle atrophy
  • 1 percent bone-mass loss per year for females
  • Increased risk of dying of heart disease by 64 percent
  • Increased risk of prostate and breast cancer by 30 percent
  • The loss of seven quality-adjusted life years.
These numbers are petrifying. Sitting has become as detrimental as smoking due to its laundry list of associated medical issues and health ramifications. The good news is that most of these dangers can be avoided by adding movement to your daily routine on a regular basis. Here are some basic examples and strategies to offset your risk:


This is a serious issue that effects all of us. Take the time to protect your own personal health, and implement as many of these strategies as possible. Try your best to sit less than three hours each and every day and make sure you are adding regular exercise to your daily routine. 

Sources:

http://atvb.ahajournals.org/content/27/12/2650.abstract
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK44683/ 
http://sjp.sagepub.com/content/35/5/510.abstract 
http://journals.lww.com/acsmmsse/Fulltext/2010/05000/Sedentary_Behaviors_Increase_Risk_of.6.aspx 

Chris McAbee is the founder and co-owner of Wilmington Performance Lab, a state-of-the-art personal training facility that offers a full range of services including nutritional counseling and corporate wellness. Wilmington Performance Lab was founded on the belief that personal training is not only about making physical improvements, but also building long lasting, quality relationships with partners you can trust. For more information, visit http://wilmingtonperformancelab.com or call 910-399-5441.

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