Think back on the last 24 hours of your life. How much of it were you sitting? Seven hours? Eight? 10? More?
If you’ve followed any news or health outlet in the last few years, you’ve probably heard how bad it is to sit all day. When it comes to the negative health effects of sitting, professionals are calling it the new smoking. Simply put: The negative impacts are bad. Really bad.
Here are a few fast facts:
- The average American adult sits 10 hours a day.
- Standing burns 50 more calories per hour than sitting.
- Even if you exercise regularly, you could still be at risk. Sitting more than 8 hours a day increases your risk of disease regardless of activity level.
The negative health effects of sitting
In and of itself, sitting isn’t necessarily bad for you. It’s when you do it for long periods of time that it starts to wear on your body. Not only does sitting drain your energy, it reduces your overall quality of life. Looking for more examples? Here are just a few.
- You burn less calories and your metabolic rate decreases.
- Blood sugar levels are affected, and insulin production increases.
- Muscles in the legs effectively shut down.
- Back muscles incur added stress.
- Blood pressure levels increase.
- Certain enzyme function decreases, affecting the number of harmful blood fats found.
- Blood clots can form, leading to heart attack or stroke.
- Circulation of blood decreases, causing numbness, tingling and nerve damage.
Your risk of developing the following diseases increase: heart disease, obesity, cancer, diabetes, dementia, depression.
Even though we know these things to be true, most Americans sit a good portion of their waking hours. The question is: Why? To a large extent, we can blame this on the rise of the desk job. But even if you have a job that requires you to be at a desk all day, there are plenty of options. Simply standing up once an hour to shake out your legs is better than remaining seated for extended periods of time.
If you’re interested in calculating your average time spent seated each day, you can go to the fancy link. It takes just a few moments to answer the questions, and then at the end it will give your total sitting hours per day as well as your risk for sitting disease.