Thoughts on Better Aging

Do You Sit Too Much?

February 21st, 2015

Learn about the perils of a sedentary lifestyle and how to escape them.

The average American adult spends about 60 percent of their time engaged in sedentary activities, much of which takes place in a seated position. A growing body of research has revealed that this type of inactivity has serious consequences for our health.

Wait a minute, you might say. That doesn’t apply to me. Sure, I spend a lot of time sitting, but I also work out every single day. I should be fine, right?

Wrong. Research has shown that sitting for more than 6 hours per day is a significant problem, regardless of how much exercise you may get during the other 18. In one large study of over 100,000 American adults, researchers discovered that those individuals who spent more than 6 hours per day sitting down had a 40 percent greater risk of mortality in the next 15 years than those who spent less than 3 hours per day seated—and the amount of exercise they got did not matter one bit. Other studies worldwide have found similar results, independent of traditional risk factors of early mortality like smoking and diet.

What Are the Specific Risks of Sitting Too Much?

Studies have shown 3 serious consequences of sitting still for more than 6 hours per day:

  • Decreased activity of lipoprotein lipase, an enzyme that normally works to burn fat
  • Decreased bone mineral density, which presents an increased risk of fracture
  • Increased blood pressure and decreased artery diameters, a recipe for heart attack

4 Strategies to Reduce Negative Health Implications of Sitting

  • Take Standing Breaks:The easiest way to change your sedentary habits right now is to simply intersperse standing breaks into your daily routine. Try for a goal of one 2-minute standing or walking break every hour. You can get apps for your smartphone or computer to help remind you to take your breaks.
  • Get a Standing Desk:If you have an office or computer job, you can easily spend 8 hours per day sitting down. A standing desk can change this. Some desks are even integrated with a treadmill to help you get exercise as well as break your sedentary behavior.
  • Sit Actively:If a standing desk is not practical, you can try devices that will help you sit more actively. One option is to balance on a yoga ball instead of a chair. For a more subtle option, you can purchase an “active sitting disc” that will perform the same function of forcing you to make small adjustments in your posture while seated. This will help break up the time spent seated in one position.
  • Support Bone, Heart, and Metabolic Health:You may be able to mitigate the specific risks presented by excessive sitting by taking special measures to protect certain aspects of your health. For example, since sitting causes problems with circulation, blood pressure, and heart health, you would want to be especially careful to eat a heart-healthy diet and keep your hormones balanced to support coronary function.

At Renew Man™, we offer a complete range of treatments designed to support your overall health, including diet and exercise recommendations and hormone replacement therapy. You can always consult one of our doctors for help changing your lifestyle to combat the effects of sitting and better support your overall health.

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