Risks of a sedentary lifestyle: Why you should stand more!

The world is finally beginning to understand that our bodies have been evolved to stand and walk and not to sit. Our earliest ancestors walked frequently on the ground and climbed trees and this allowed them to easily adapt to changing habitats and environments.

Unfortunately, the modern world has made sitting more comfortable and tempting. Studies show that most people, on average, sit for about 7.7 hours each day – that’s almost the amount of time an adult spends sleeping! There are some people who may even sit up to 15 hours a day.

Martha Grogan, Cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic, states that a sedentary lifestyle can increase one’s risk of heart disease. In fact, she mentions that the risk of heart disease for people who spend most hours of their day sitting is just as high as smoking. However, the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle don’t end here.

Too much sitting is linked to a myriad of health problems associated with weight gain, which not only includes heart disease but diabetes too. If you’re sitting for more than 7 hours a day, you’re obviously not active during this period. Sitting too much reduces the activity of lipoprotein lipase, an enzyme which aids in the metabolism of fat.
Your blood sugar levels spike each time you have a meal. Your body goes under a calorie-storing mode for four hours. However, studies show that people who reduce their activity i.e. by sitting more, experience increased blood sugar spikes. This can become detrimental to the body and increase your risk of type-2 diabetes.

In addition, a large study with 800,000 participants which compared people who sat the least with the ones who sat the most found that people who sat more had a 90 percent high risk of cardiovascular disease, 112 percent higher risk of diabetes, 147 percent higher risk of death lead by a cardiovascular problem and a 49 percent higher risk of death by any cause.

Standing more is the only solution

Your body is designed to stand upright and move around, therefore, to counteract the sitting disease, you need to stand more. Even if you exercise an hour every day, the effects of sitting for more than 7 hours a day cannot be negated.

Researchers at the University of London have found that those whose occupation primarily involves standing and/or walking have a roughly 32 percent lower risk of early death compared to those involved in sedentary jobs.

Furthermore, you burn more calories while standing because it involves more muscular contraction, especially in your thigh area. This improves your vascular health and your blood sugar levels.

To reduce sitting time, try the following tips:

1. Always take the stairs and walk up when you’re going on an escalator

2. Stand when you’re taking public transport, such as buses and trains

3. Alternate standing and sitting while working and set a reminder to get your tush off the chair every 30 minutes

4. Set up a standing workstation to do some of your work on and to take calls

5. Consider switching from TV time to more active hobbies

6. Instead of having a meal when you meet up with your friends, go to the beach or the park for a walk instead

7. Walk for a little during your tea breaks

8. Instead of calling your co-worker, go to his or her desk

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