How Sitting All Day Is Damaging Your Body and How You Can Counteract It

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Do you sit in an workplace chair or in your sofa for greater than six hours a day? Then listed here are some disturbing info: Your threat of coronary heart illness has increased by up to 64 percent. You’re shaving off seven years of quality life. You’re additionally extra in danger for certain types of cancer. Simply put, sitting is killing you. That’s the unhealthy information. The excellent news: It’s simple to counteract regardless of how lazy you might be.

Photo remixed from Lack-O’Keen/Shutterstock and Nip/Shutterstock.

Let’s begin with the fundamentals. Since childhood you’ve got identified being a sofa potato is unhealthy. But why? Simply put, our our bodies weren’t made to take a seat all day. Sitting for lengthy intervals of time, even with train, has a unfavourable impact on our well being. What’s worse, many people sit up to 15 hours a day. That means a few of us spend the majority of our waking moments on the sofa, in an workplace chair, or in a automobile.

Sitting all day lengthy is not exhausting to counteract, however you must hold your eye on two particulars: your every day exercise and the period of time you sit. Let’s begin by having a look at what sitting all day does to your physique.

An Estimated Timeline of the Effects of Sitting

It’s tough to get an correct evaluation of what sitting all day will do to you as a result of the results work in tandem with weight loss plan and different threat components. So we’ll begin with a comparatively wholesome one who doesn’t drink in extra, smoke, and who is not chubby. Then we’ll estimate the results of sitting for over six hours a day based mostly on what begins taking place instantly after you sit down. For a common overview of the results, have a look at this chart from Medical Billing and Coding to see a breakdown of what that occurs in your physique if you sit down. (If the vast majority of your sitting time takes place at a desk, needless to say a standing desk has its own problems, too.)

Immediately After Sitting

Right after you sit down, exercise in your muscle mass slows down and your calorie-burning rate drops to one calorie per minute. This is a couple of third of what it does in case you’re strolling. If you sit for a full 24-hour interval, you experience a 40 percent reduction in glucose uptake in insulin, which may finally trigger kind 2 diabetes.

After Two Weeks of Sitting for More Than Six Hours a Day

Within 5 days of adjusting to a sedentary life-style, your physique increases plasma triglycerides (fatty molecules), LDL cholesterol (aka bad cholesterol), and insulin resistance. This means your muscle mass aren’t taking in fats and your blood sugar ranges go up, placing you in danger for weight acquire. After simply two weeks your muscle mass begin to atrophy and your most oxygen consumption drops. This makes stairs tougher to climb and walks tougher to take. Even in case you have been understanding day by day the deterioration begins the second you cease shifting.

After One Year of Sitting More Than Six Hours a Day

After a 12 months, the long term results of sitting can begin to manifest subtly. According to this study by Nature, you might start to experience weight gain and high cholesterol. Studies in lady counsel you can lose up to 1 percent of bone mass a year by sitting for over six hours a day.

After 10-20 Years of Sitting More Than Six Hours a Day

Sitting for over six hours a day for a decade or two can reduce away about seven quality adjusted life years (the type you need). It will increase your threat of dying of heart disease by 64 percent and your total risk of prostate or breast cancer increases 30 percent.

If this appears to be like unhealthy, don’t fret. We’re going to indicate you how one can counteract the unfavourable results of sitting with out completely altering your life-style. Photo by John O’Nolan.

Counteract the Consequences of Sitting and Still Maintain Your Current Lifestyle

Happlily, you solely have to do two issues to counter the results of sitting all day:

  1. Remember to face as soon as an hour.
  2. Get about 30 minutes of exercise per day.

Whether you are a sofa potato watching marathons of Firefly or an workplace employee sitting in entrance of a pc, an Australian study suggests short breaks from sitting once an hour can alleviate most of the problems described above. This is not about understanding (which is constructive in its personal proper however does not counteract the results of lengthy intervals of sitting). It’s about creating pockets of average exercise all through the day and giving your physique a respite from sitting.

What precisely is average exercise? I talked with Dr. Brian Parr, affiliate professor within the Department of Exercise and Health Sciences on the University of South Carolina Aiken to search out out. He factors out the excellence between average exercise and train:

We often inform individuals average exercise is equal to a brisk stroll. This would come with yard work or cleansing your home — something that will get you shifting counts. You do not should do what individuals consider as train.

Of course, sofa potatoes and workplace staff do not at all times have thirty minutes to spare. After all, a Firefly bender may take up a complete night. Here’s the excellent news: you may break up that thirty minutes all through the day. Dr. Parr continues:

This is one of the best half. We often inform individuals to interrupt it up into ten minute segments, however that is as a result of it is essentially the most sensible. If I inform you that you would be able to unfold it out all through the day, you are going to say, “Well, I stood up and walked throughout the room to my soda.” What was that, about ten seconds? You’ll begin to micromanage. From my perspective, that is not how individuals ought to do it. But you might do it that means.

The principal motive you need to shoot for the ten minute chunks is since you’re making a mini-stress in your physique that helps enhance your endurance. In the actual world, this implies you will not get drained midway up the steps. Think of it this manner: you do not prepare for a marathon by sprinting for ten minutes day by day. Instead, you enhance your endurance with longer jogs. The similar goes for every day exercise, you need to maintain exercise for lengthy sufficient to make it helpful in your every day life.

Let’s have a look at how one can estimate your every day exercise and be sure to get out of the workplace chair all through the day. Photo by cell105.

Start by Finding Your Daily Baseline with a Pedometer

The very first thing to do is monitor how a lot exercise you get in an everyday day. For me, the best solution to do it is a pedometer that tracks the variety of footsteps I take. You should buy an inexpensive $three pedometer like this one from Amazon, or use an app on your iPhone or Android.

The first step is to take a 30-minute stroll and see what number of steps you are taking. My whole was somewhat in need of four,000. Yours will fluctuate based mostly on how rapidly you stroll and the way massive your steps are.

Next, you need to discover a baseline of your every day exercise. Start utilizing the pedometer if you get up within the morning and hold it in your pocket (or operating in your cellphone) till you go to mattress. This gives you an estimate of your common every day exercise.

For me, this was frighteningly low on the times I did not purposely train. My whole variety of steps? Under 2,000. This is downright horrible and equates to lower than a mile a day. Clearly, I have to rise up and transfer round extra typically. Photo by Adam Engelhart.

Meet Your Daily Activity Target by Slightly Altering Your Behavior

If you are like me, you are properly underneath your goal train vary. A couple of easy modifications to your every day habits will provide help to attain your aim. Here are a couple of concepts for how one can do it with out actually making an attempt:

  • Park close to the again of the car parking zone.
  • Stand as much as go to the file cupboard as a substitute of rolling your chair.
  • Walk over and discuss to a coworker as a substitute of emailing them.
  • Take the scenic path to the toilet as a substitute of essentially the most direct.

Since I work at home, I’ve to make a extra concentrated effort to satisfy these objectives. I’ve began strolling to a close-by espresso store within the afternoon and I hop on an indoor bicycle for not less than 10-20 minutes a day. If all else fails, I am going to do laundry as a result of I’ve to stroll down two units of stairs.

Meeting your goal exercise degree is simply step one. The second half is way less complicated and solely requires you get up every so often. Here’s how I remind myself to do it. Photo by o5com.

Set an Hourly Standing Alarm to Remind You to Stand

We know that in case you get up for only one or two minutes each hour, it may well scale back the unfavourable impact of sitting all day. Technically, you do not even have to maneuver, the act of standing alone helps. When you are within the second and dealing exhausting, it is tough to recollect. I discovered enabling the hourly announcement in OS X one of the best reminder. To set this, click on Settings > Date & Time > Announce the time. Windows customers can arrange an identical hourly reminder as a activity by clicking Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Task Scheduler.

If the alarm is not sufficient, you may obtain devoted software program to remind you. Windows customers can use free packages like, Workrave or Breaker to arrange automated alerts. For Macs, Time Out appears one of the best free possibility. These packages will remind you to face and dim the desktop to pressure you out of your chair.

It’s as much as you ways you utilize these micro-breaks. You do not even have to maneuver in case you do not need to, however if you wish to get somewhat exercise in that minute, here is a fast solution to do it with out leaving your desk space:

  • Stand up.
  • March in place for twenty seconds.
  • Reach down and attempt to contact your toes for twenty seconds.
  • Wander round and choose up or reorganize for the final twenty seconds (finally your desk space might even be clear).

I additionally arrange an iCade at a standing degree so I’ve one thing to occupy me after I get up. Personally, I want aims and I am not good at simply idling for a couple of minutes. The iCade provides a way of goal if I do not need to stretch.

Turn these Crappy Commercials into an Excuse to Get Up

TV commercials suck. Instead of losing time watching the identical automobile industrial you’ve got seen for the final 20 years, think about the industrial break an opportunity to face and stretch.

To assist me discover constructive issues to do throughout commercials (or the credit after I’m within the midst Netflix marathon), I hold a to-do listing on the espresso desk versus at my desk. This works as a delicate reminder to take out the trash, do the dishes, clear the litter field, or no matter else must get carried out. The better part? I haven’t got to observe commercials.

On an identical be aware, when taking part in video video games on-line, I take advantage of the top of a match as a notification to face up. If I am taking part in a single participant sport, I stand throughout loading screens.

The level is that many of the actions we sit right down to get pleasure from have most of these pure breaks in them. If you are studying you may get up after a chapter or two. If you are taking part in board video games you may get up after every match. Instead of sitting and turning your thoughts off, stand and do it. It’s actually that straightforward. Photo by annethelibrarian.


The ethical right here is two-fold: get up as soon as an hour and get not less than 30 minutes of exercise in a day. That’s it. Unless you are chubby, you do not have to begin exercising or going to the gymnasium to counteract the unfavourable results of sitting. You simply should be sure to’re shifting all through the day. You do not even have to surrender your TV marathons—you simply have to accent them with somewhat hourly effort.

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