Sitting is the new smoking. Yes, the dangers of sitting are detrimental to your health. You read that right. According to science, sitting will kill off more people than smoking. Scientists call it the sedentary lifestyle, but you can say it’s spending most of your days on your backside. The result? Your chances of dying early because of heart disease, cancer, or type 2 diabetes increase significantly when you’re sitting down for long periods.
Most people are sedentary
For the average person, sitting is the new habit equivalent to smoking. The consequences are just beginning to be known, and they may not become understandable for years. Sitting is killing us, and though we sit because we have to, like driving, the real problem is the desk-bound nature of our lifestyle. Sitting a lot, 16 to 18 hours a day, is not healthy. But it is the static nature of our lifestyle that makes sitting such a danger. Your body needs to move. It is the muscles that make your heartbeat, the muscles that make your breath. Your body is not supposed to stay in the same position. The danger is not that sitting is harmful in itself, but that sitting is harmful in combination with not moving. Being sedentary is so dangerous because not moving is dangerous in itself. Sitting puts stress on your heart and lungs. Blood pressure goes up, and cholesterol goes up. Your arteries get clogged. When you sit, you pass out blood that should return to your legs; it returns to your heart. Sitting shortens your life span. Your body has its internal clock, an internal signal that tells you when to get up when tired. When you ignore this signal, your body starts to malfunction. How long can your body stay in that state? Not long. The stress will eventually build-up, and your body's internal clock will start working. It thinks it's morning, so it makes you wake up. The body thinks it's afternoon, so it makes you tired, and it makes you want to eat. So you eat, and you start to sleep. It goes back to sleep, only to wake again.
Sitting has been linked to many health conditions
If you sit down more often, you'll have more accidents, become more strained, lose more time due to illness, have less energy to get things done. You will have worse health in general, die earlier, and overall worse quality of life. It makes intuitive sense that sitting is detrimental to your health. If you sit, your muscles get weaker. They don't get stronger with exercise. The body muscles that don't get used to exercising become weaker. Sitting weakens your bones, too. Bones are dense, so sitting compresses your bones. Sitting is bad for your heart, too. You probably know that your heart beats faster when you exercise, but did you know that it also beats faster when you are just sitting? And if you sit all day, your cholesterol goes up. The blood in your legs pools, and your circulation slows. And sitting affects your joints. When you sit all the time, your joints get stiff. Besides, sitting is also bad for your digestion. The muscles used for digestion get weak.
Alternate your sitting time with activities that get you on your feet. The best desk exercise is walking. You walk back and forth, up and down, and around. It's good for your eyes, and since we're already sitting at a desk, it's a workout too. The standing stuff, too, has benefits. It takes a lot of muscle power to sit and watch TV. Standing makes you stronger and makes you sweat, which is good for your body. When you stand, it makes you more aware of your body and what it does. Standing also makes you less susceptible to the trap of sitting too long. When you don't move much, your muscles get weak, making it harder to pay attention to what you are doing. Set up standing breaks so that you get your rest but also stay refreshed. Standing and walking is the best desk exercise. The most important thing is to stand a lot and sit less. You have to get up from time to time. Another trick is to do different things while you're sitting. Do some walking and some reading. Change back and forth from subjects. Exercising helps your body stay healthy, and it gives you energy. Of course, it also burns calories, and you have to use up more calories than you take in to lose weight.