Believe it or not, sitting down all day can be hazardous to your health and even shorten your life, especially if you have a desk job that requires you to sit for hours at a time or you are the proverbial “couch potato” that watches TV all day. Basically, sitting has replaced smoking as the most recent significant health threat. Even if you spend several hours exercising each week, that couch potato lifestyle or your desk job increases your chances of succumbing to an early death and there has been a lot of research to back this up.
Before going on with the many ways that sitting down all day can kill you, here are some very disturbing facts to be aware of. Sitting for hours increases your risk of developing heart disease by as much as 64%. Not only that, but your risk of developing certain cancers is considerably higher. Basically, sitting down all day could shorten your life by up to 7 years. Interestingly enough, the human body was never designed for sitting for long periods of time.
You probably know that the expression “couch potato” has a negative connotation and can adversely impact your health. You could be spending up to 15 hours every day sitting on your derriere. If you commute to and from the job, spend most of your day at your desk, and then relaxing on the couch, it is not hard to imagine how this can be very damaging to your health and shorten your life.
The Impact Of Sitting Down All Day
Too much sitting throughout the day can lead to hip, shoulder, and spine problems later in life. Ironically, the death rate in the US was 43% higher over 50 years ago when less than 1% of us suffered with diabetes and obesity affected only 13% of our population. My how things have changed! Today, 6% of all Americans have some form of diabetes and 35% of the population is labeled as obese.
The following is a list of the 7 ways that sitting down all day can have an adverse effect on your health and shorten your life in the process.
1. Chronic disease
Certain types of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure are some of the chronic diseases that could result from sitting all day. For instance, individuals who sat for 6 hours a day or more were at higher risk of developing diabetes.
2. Colorectal cancer death
According to the Journal of Clinical Oncology, individuals who spent 6 hours per day (or longer) sitting, had a 36% higher risk of developing colon and/or rectal cancers.
3. Kidney disease
A survey that was conducted in October of 2012 revealed that individuals aged 40 to 75 had a 30% higher risk of developing some form of kidney disease when they had a sedentary lifestyle and were sitting throughout the day.
4. Mental health issues
In April of 2012, the “Annals of Behavioral Medicine” published an article wherein they referred to a “double whammy” effect. Not only does sitting all day negatively impact your body, it adversely affects your mental health as well.
5. Metabolic syndrome and obesity
Obese individuals sat an average of 3 hours longer than a lean person, but this is more closely associated with metabolic syndrome. This leads to abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high triglyceride levels, hyperglycemia, and lower levels of good cholesterols.
6. Shortened lifespan
Sitting down all day can take as many as 7 years off your life expectancy. The problem is that most individuals do not realize how sedentary their lives have become and how dangerous this can be.
7. Overall, just dying sooner in life
Regardless of your age, body mass, and gender, too much sitting increases your risk of dying sooner in life from all causes.
Stop Killing Yourself
Fortunately, there are only two things that you should do to counteract the negative effects of sitting down all day. Whether you sit at your desk all day at work or you are that proverbial couch potato mentioned above:
- Do a minimum of a half hour of moderate activity or exercise every day.
- Get up off the couch or away from your desk once every hour throughout the day.
Surprisingly, just doing these two things can lower the risk of the problems above occurring and could prolong your lifespan in the process. The bottom line is that the solution to this comes down to changing certain lifestyle behaviors and getting healthier in your habits.