The Dangers of Sitting Down

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by Amanda Bloom

You may have already heard the news – sitting down is terrible for your health, even if you exercise regularly.  Ths is what happens to your body while sitting, according to the New York Times article “Is Sitting a Lethal Activity?” by James Vlahos:

“Electrical activity in the muscles drops — your calorie-burning rate immediately plunges to about one per minute, a third of what it would be if you got up and walked. Insulin effectiveness drops within a single day, and the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes rises. So does the risk of being obese. The enzymes responsible for breaking down lipids and triglycerides plunge, which in turn causes the levels of good (HDL) cholesterol to fall.”

by Amanda Bloom

 


 

You may have already heard the news – sitting down is terrible for your health, even if you exercise regularly.  This is what happens to your body while sitting, according to the New York Times article “Is Sitting a Lethal Activity?” by James Vlahos:

 

“Electrical activity in the muscles drops — your calorie-burning rate immediately plunges to about one per minute, a third of what it would be if you got up and walked. Insulin effectiveness drops within a single day, and the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes rises. So does the risk of being obese. The enzymes responsible for breaking down lipids and triglycerides plunge, which in turn causes the levels of good (HDL) cholesterol to fall.”

 

Vlahos also cites a 1992 study tracking the health of 123,000 Americans, which found that men who sat for six hours or more per day had a 20% higher overall death rate than those who sat for three hours or less and women who sat for more than six hours per day had a 40% higher overall death rate.

Studies are showing that even daily exercise will not deter the effects of extensive sitting.

 

A stand-up desk may even help one become a great writer – Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf and Philip Roth are said to have worked at these desks.


Roaring Brook Elementary School in Avon, Connecticut is trying out stand-up desks.  Photo courtesy of LitchfieldCountyMom.com.

“A growing body of inactivity research, however, suggests that [offsetting sitting with diet and aerobic exercise] makes scarcely more sense than the notion that you could counter a pack-a-day smoking habit by jogging,” writes Vlahos.

So what are we deskbound folks to do?  Vlahos interviewed Dr. James Levine, a Mayo Clinic researcher in Rochester, Minnesota, who offers solutions ranging from micro-movements – bending, stretching, mini-walks around the office – to treadmill desks and chairless classrooms.

Stand-up desks are also becoming a popular piece of furniture – Todd Wasserman interviews Jim Gattuso, owner of standupdesks.com, in the Mashable article “Are you Sitting Down? Why a Stand-Up Desk Might Save Your Life”, where he said that traffic to his site quadrupled back in April (around the same time that the Vlahos article ran in the Times). Along with counteracting all of the harrowing effects of extensive sitting listed above, a stand-up desk may even help one become a great writer – Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf and Philip Roth are said to have worked at these desks.

This new information on sitting sheds light on one’s relationship with the TV, the office environment, and perhaps most importantly, the classroom environment.

Check out the Medical Billing and Coding infographic below to learn more about what happens to your body when sitting for long periods.

 

 

by & filed under Health & Humanity, Health & Humanity News.