Eat, Sit, Die: The Dangers of Sitting Too Much

quote eat sit dieIf you were asked to name something that’s linked to heart disease, dementia and even cancer, I bet sitting down wouldn’t be at the top of your list.

But lack of enough physical activity has been identified as the fourth-leading risk factor for death for people all around the world, according to the World Health Organization. 

Sitting between 8 to 12 hours or more a day has been researched to increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 90% – and has also been linked to many other huge health dangers like high blood pressure, obesity, and bad cholesterol.

Plus prolonged sitting is a silent killer that’s not only physically harmful – but also mentally harmful.

Research has linked prolonged sitting to dementia.  A major study from Boston University School of Medicine discovered that people who were couch potatoes in their 30s and 40s were more likely to have “smaller brains” two decades later. Basically, a sedentary lifestyle accelerates the ageing process, speeding the rate at which the brain shrinks.

Plus a Stanford study found that a decrease in movement brings with it a decrease in creativity and productivity. quote walk bad moodThankfully, the reverse is also true. When you increase your movement, you can increase your creativity and productivity. Even taking short walks in the middle of your work day has been shown to boost brain power. (The Cliff Notes: In one study, 100 percent of those who took a walk outside were able to generate at least one high-quality, novel analogy compared to 50 percent of those who remained seated inside.)

Plus, as you might already know, sitting too much cannot only be bad for your butt, but bad for your mood. Happily, even taking a mere 10 minute walk outside has been researched to immediately boost brain chemistry to increase happiness.

Unfortunately, today’s world has been constructed to keep us on our butts.

We drive and sit. We work and sit. We watch TV and sit. We scroll on social media and… yup, you’ve got it.

If you’re a gym bunny, don’t take yourself off the risk list! According to researchers, an hour on the treadmill doesn’t necessarily cancel out 8 hours of sedentary desk time.  Experts recommend thinking about sitting and exercise as two separate behaviors. Although exercising for 1 hour might help your health, sitting for 8 hours is still a poison to your system which can harm you.

Translation: You cannot simply depend on exercise to counteract the dangers of prolonged sitting. You must actually get off your butt, STOP your prolonged sitting and get your booty moving!

HOW TO STOP YOUR SITTY BEHAVIOR:

MOTION IS A HEALTH POTION: Aim to get up every 30 minutes or so. Set a timer so you don’t forget. Do a few jumping jacks or a simple set of stretches. Go get a glass of water. (NOTE: My Do It Program offers many more tools to keep you motivated to move – and makes choosing to move feel fun!)

The goal: Get your blood flow going!

Added bonus: When you take 30 minute breaks away from your computer screen, you’re doing your eyes a favor at the same time. Win-win.

SWITCH UP THE LANDSCAPE: Who says work meetings have to be inside? If you’re getting together with co-workers to discuss ideas (or even clients to discuss a new strategy), then consider taking it outside. Walk your talk, and do meetings as you circulate around a park.

The goal: Breathe in the fresh air, and breathe out the creativity. Added movement is an awesome way of promoting added creative flow.

Added Bonus: A change in scenery often leads to a change in thinking. Chances are you’ll find yourself feeling extra inspired. Often perspiration = inspiration

Written by Karen Salmansohn (Founder)

Hi I’m Karen Salmansohn, founder of NotSalmon. My mission is to offer you easy-to-understand insights and tools to empower you to bloom into your happiest, highest potential self. I use playful analogies, feisty humor, and stylish graphics to distill big ideas – going as far back as ancient wisdom from Aristotle, Buddhism and Darwin to the latest research studies from Cognitive Therapy, Neuro Linquistic Programming, Neuroscience, Positive Psychology, Quantum Physics, Nutritional Studies – and then some.
  • Sophia

    An interesting article. I agree that we were not meant to sit down, which the 9-5 conveyor belt lifestyle (I coined) has dictate. I even wrote an article on how it can make you fat. It’s interesting the research that mentions the effect on the brain.