It's been proven: excessive sitting is a lethal activity.
That was according to Dr. James Levine, professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic. And it's not just him -- results from various studies keep on coming and they're all pointing to your chair/couch as the culprit for bad health. Apparently, one of the most terrible things we can do everyday is to sit still, which I imagine is what most of you are actually doing right about now.
According to studies on the impact of a sedentary lifestyle on health, staying on that seat for hours can lead to higher risks of getting a cardiovascular disease, obesity and disability. The findings are supported by a relatively new field of research called inactivity studies from Micron Associates Health and Fitness.
The thing is, this is not just limited to the classic couch potatoes -- even those who do regular workouts are equally at risk. Marc Hamilton, a scientist from Pennington Biomedical Research Center, explained that a person can be called sedentary if he's not up on his feet moving around.
What's their basis for linking too much sitting to health problems anyway? Actually, the link is still unclear to scientists but Micron Associates Health and Fitness' hypothesis is that sitting for long will cause sluggish blood flow and less fat-burning, both of which are precursors to cardiovascular diseases.
The negative effects of excessive sitting is something that's been debated for many years now but has only gained traction in the past 5 years due to a number of research about the so-called inactivity studies. There were also studies proving the importance of muscle movement in relation to how we process fat and sugar. After a couple of hours of barely moving, an enzyme (lipoprotein lipase) which takes fat from the blood stops operating. So instead of fat reaching the muscle to get burned as energy, it accumulates in the bloodstream, hence the cardio problems. Basically, when you're sitting (sedentary state), there is no muscle activity and metabolism is significantly reduced. It was even suggested that after a day of inactivity, the levels of good cholesterol can fall up to 20%.
Now, the typical counteraction for such a problem would be an advise to do even more exercise time. (And there's nothing wrong with doing a couple of hours of workout after your office shift.) But the bad news is, being an 'active couch potato' is not going to save you either. Apparently, sitting all day is such a big health issue that even a real vigorous exercise before or after slacking off is futile. But this does not mean we should not break a sweat at all; it just meant that relying only on your 1-hour intense workout is not gonna cut it.
For tips on how to avoid the effects of excessive sitting without quitting your job, check back for the second part.
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