Aug 12 2018

Your Health – Standing vs Sitting

Published by at 11:17 am under General,Personal Care

Stand up for your health
Research shows that sitting for prolonged periods can take years off your life.   

You’ve probably heard it before. But it is one of the most important things you can do for your health. That is to… get up and move! And now there are multiple studies telling us why we should not sit for prolonged periods of time and how a sedentary lifestyle has devastating effects on our health.(1,2)*

In the United States, people working in offices, on average can sit for 13 to 15 hours a day and less than 20% of jobs require moderate activity. According to research by people such as Dr. James Levine who wrote the book Get Up! Why Your Chair Is Killing You and What You Can Do About It, long hours of sitting is  one of the number one life shorteners. It leads to chronic diseases such as obesity, Type 2 diabetes, cancer and affects our bone density, posture, and leads to back pain and  inflexibility.(1,2,3)*

Dr. James Levine, who coined the phrase ‘Sitting is the new smoking,’ is the co-director of the Mayo Clinic and the Arizona State University Obesity Initiative. He has dug deep into this topic of prolonged sitting. According to him the human body is meant to move. Rest is intended to break up activity, not the other way around. “…This very unnatural posture is not only bad for your back, your wrists, your arms, and your metabolism, but it actually switches off the cellular mechanisms that act as the fundamental fueling systems of the body…” By just carrying our body weight around, we activate these molecular effects. When we sit all day, these cellular mechanisms shut down. But within 90 seconds of standing, the muscular and cellular systems that process blood sugar, triglycerides, and cholesterol—which are mediated by insulin—are activated.  (2,3,)*

Researchers associated with the American College of Sports Medicine have said that sedentary behavior is harmful in and of itself, and that while it’s important to meet physical activity guidelines, doing so is not enough to eliminate the harms of sitting for long periods of time. Even if you work out 7 hours a week — far more than the suggested 2-3 hours — you can’t reverse the effects of sitting 7 hours at a time. 3*

Sitting too much also increases our risk of being disabled later in life as well according to researchers at Northwestern University. People 60 years old and above increase their risk of becoming physically disabled by 50% for every hour spent sitting each day, no matter how much exercise they get. Today, over 56 million Americans have some kind of disability with close to half of people 65 and older having a disability. This can include “…difficulty doing basic self-care tasks and difficulty leaving the home alone…” According to Dorothy Dunlop a public health and medicine researchers who led the study, these disabilities “…”threaten people’s independence, and also accounts for a large chunk of health care dollars. Every $1 in $4 spent on medical care is related to disability problems.”…”4*

So what to do? An Australian study found that mini-breaks of just one minute long every hour throughout the day, can actually make a difference. Stand up, dance around a bit, wiggle, walk back and forth, and march in place. Doing these simple movements can help lower blood sugar, triglycerides, cholesterol and waist size. According to one researcher, “…”If there’s a fountain of youth, it is probably physical activity.”1*

According to the Annals of Internal Medicine, the best thing to do to offset the negative effects of sitting all day, is to get up and move every 30 minutes or so. In addition, meet the exercise guidelines of working out for at least 30-45 minutes daily, weight lifting, and stretching. But if you sit all day,  just remember to take breaks.3*

Daily prolonged sitting can lead to:

Higher risk of diabetes: yes, sitting causes you to burn fewer calories, but that isn’t the reason for an increased risk of diabetes. The sitting part seems to change the way your body reacts to insulin, the hormone that helps your body burn sugar and carbs for energy. (1,5)*

Sitting increases your risk of getting Deep Vein Thrombosis Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a clot that forms in your leg, often because you sit still for too long. It becomes serious when it breaks fee and lodges in your lung. If you notice swelling and pain in your legs, seek medical treatment immediately. But this is another reason not to sit too long. 5*

Weight gain Sitting too much can cause you to be overweight and obese. Exercise daily, but also, cut down on screen time. Spend more time moving around, walking to the store or the park or gardening. If you’re in an office, make more runs to the water fountain, coffee stand or just walk around the building, and stand while talking on the phone. (1,5)*

Leads to back trouble Sitting puts a lot of stress on your back muscles, neck and spine. It also causes the hip flexors to shorten, which puts strain on the lower back. If you slouch while sitting, that is even worse. If you have to sit for long periods, try an ergonomic chair, or look for a standing station for your computer. And don’t forget to get up and move around for 10 minutes every hour. (1,5)* 

Varicose Veins Prolonged periods of sitting can cause blood to pool in your legs, putting added pressure on your veins. When veins start to swell, twist or bulge, you may see spider veins, or bundles of broken blood vessels. There are treatment options available, but avoiding long periods of sitting is your prevention strategy. 5*

Affects bone density and leads to osteoporosis As we age, if we become inactive, we are more likely to develop osteoporosis and our bones become less dense, which can lead to breaks should we fall. No one wants a broken bone. This is another reason to stay active. 5*

Your Cancer Risk Goes Up Sitting too much also makes us more likely to get certain types of cancer, including colon, endometrial, or lung cancer, and breast cancer in older women. Even if you are super active, if you sit too much, your cancer risks increase. (1,5)*

So to summarize…If you find that you fall into this pattern of prolonged sitting, counter your sitting by getting up every hour for at least 10 minutes to stretch, walk, dance, wiggle…whatever you need to do to get moving. Do weight bearing exercises. Do some push ups, carry hand weights, and do some jumping jacks…these all work. Practice some yoga. Not only does yoga help keep you limber, but many positions are weight bearing.

Move every day as much as you can. If you get a phone call, walk around while you talk. Need to call your mother or a friend? Chat while outside walking. Stand instead of sitting while you are working or eating. But the point is, just don’t’ sit for too long. It is just not good for your body to be in this sedentary position for hours on end. At Body Biotics™ our focus is on whole body health. Exercise affects the gut microbiome positively so when you combine a healthy diet, exercise and Body Biotics™ Bio Identical SBO Probiotics Consortia™, you are positioned for good health for the long run.6*

Healthiest wishes,





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