Sitting: 6 New Reasons It's Bad For Your Health
Consensus is not always an easy thing to come by in the health and wellness worlds, but if there's one topic that inspires seemingly little debate, it is sitting. As in, on your duff. And how it's not great for us, health-wise.
Which is why after a year of robust research on the potential health consequences of sitting too much, we've compiled a list of the latest and greatest reasons why the chair -- at least when inhabited for long periods of time -- may not be your friend.
Of course, we understand that for many, ditching that seated pose is not an option. (Really. We're desk-bound over here, too. We get it.) But as HuffPost blogger Ana Forrest -- author of "Fierce Medicine: Breakthrough Practices to Heal the Body and Ignite the Spirit" -- points out, there are easy things you can do to help your body while you work, like spinal twists and shoulder shrugs.
Better yet? Click through our list, then give yourself permission to take a quick break, get up and get moving. It's for your health -- and your sanity.
It Ups Diabetes Risk
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/05/sitting-too-long-diabetes-risk_n_917220.html" target="_hplink">Back in October,</a> researchers from the University of Missouri published results suggesting that sitting throughout most of the day may put individuals at higher risk for diabetes, obesity and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease -- even if you clear time for daily exercise.
It Increases Your Overall Death Risk
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/24/sitting-too-long-death_n_884152.html" target="_hplink">As HuffPost editor Amanda Chan reported back in June,</a> a study in the <em>American Journal of Epidemiology</em> found that women who sat six or more hours a day were nearly 40 percent more likely to die over a 13-year-stretch than those who sat less than three hours. As for men? Sitting for more than six hours was linked with an 18-percent higher risk of death.
Just A Few Mins (In Front Of the Tube) Takes A Toll
An <a href="http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/early/2011/08/01/bjsm.2011.085662" target="_hplink">August study from the <em>British Journal of Sports Medicine</em></a> found that every hour you sit in front of the TV, you can slash your life expectancy by nearly 22 minutes. And watching the tube for six hours a day? That type of seriously sedentary behavior can cut your life expectancy <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/17/1-hour-of-tv-lifespan-22-minutes_n_929321.html" target="_hplink">by five years. </a>
It's Linked With Cancer
<a href="http://vitals.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/11/03/8616170-if-youre-sitting-down-you-may-be-increasing-your-cancer-risk" target="_hplink">As MSNBC reported,</a> sitting may be responsible for more than 170,000 cases of cancer yearly -- with breast and colon cancers being the most influenced by rates of physical activity (and inactivity). But according to that article, a little bit of walking can go a long way. "For many of the most common cancers, it seems like something as simple as a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day can help reduce cancer risk," Christine Friedenreich, an epidemiologist with Alberta Health Services <a href="http://vitals.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/11/03/8616170-if-youre-sitting-down-you-may-be-increasing-your-cancer-risk" target="_hplink">told MSNBC.</a>
It Makes Your Bottom Bigger
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2011/12/05/sitting-down-makes-your-bottom-bigger-say-experts_n_1129377.html" target="_hplink">As our UK compatriots recently wrote,</a> researchers have found that putting pressure on certain body parts (i.e., your bottom) can produce up to 50 percent more fat than usual. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2011/12/05/sitting-down-makes-your-bottom-bigger-say-experts_n_1129377.html" target="_hplink">HuffPost UK reported:</a> "In a bid to explain why sedentary behaviour causes weight-gain, scientists believe that the precursors to fat cells turn into flab (and end up producing more) when subjected to prolonged periods of sitting down, otherwise known as 'mechanical stretching loads.'"
It Could Raise Your Heart Attack Risk
Not too long ago, <a href="http://health.yahoo.net/experts/menshealth/most-dangerous-thing-youll-do-all-day" target="_hplink"><em>Men's Health</em> covered a study</a> in the journal <em>Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise</em>, in which researchers from Louisiana found that people who sit for the majority of the day are 54 percent more likely to die of a heart attack. <a href="http://health.yahoo.net/experts/menshealth/most-dangerous-thing-youll-do-all-day" target="_hplink">Indeed, the investigators found</a> that sitting was an independent risk factor for serious cardiovascular events.
Stand Up with Us If You want to Live
Yet another study shows sitting too much is simply unhealthy. It found those who sat for more than 11 hours a day were 40 percent more likely to die in the next three years than those who sat less than four hours per day.