If you think the title of this post was a little too dramatic, think again. Research has continually proven that sitting actually does take many years off of your life. Even drastically so.
Don’t believe us? Check out these startling statistics revealed by respected scientists and research organizations:
Every hour you sit down and watch TV slices 22 minutes off of your life. (A University of Queensland study on sitting)
If you sit for a total of 11 or more hours daily, your risk of dying within 3 years shoots up a scary 40%. (compared to those who sit for less than 4 hours a day according to a study conducted by Australian researcher and Professor David Dunstan).
Men take on average 7,000 steps per day, women 5,000. (Pedometer researcher Dr. Catrine Tudor-Locke – the globally accepted daily step count for preventing weight gain and staying healthy is 10,000).
These are not pie-in-the-sky numbers. This is hard research, and there is plenty more out there. Since the 1970s health professionals and health care institutions have noticed that modern men and women are standing and walking less, and sitting more.
That is a deadly trend.
Unfortunately, your children and grandchildren will probably continue the trend in an unhealthy direction. Unless you do something about it. So keep an eye out for future posts to learn what you can do about it!
Why Sitting is So Deadly
Now that you know there are hidden health assassins at your workplace and home, you are probably wondering exactly how sitting, as opposed to standing, affects your body so negatively.
Let’s take a look.
The first thing that happens when you sit is your posture changes. Your lumbar enjoys a healthy ‘S’ shape and is properly supported when you stand. This changes immediately when you sit down.
That ‘S’ shape morphs into the letter ‘C’ when you sit. Simply by looking at those 2 letters, you can see how much pressure is put on your back when you sit down. Sitting also puts a lot of pressure on your pelvis.
Your obliques, abdominals and core are also negatively affected. The pressure from your seat on your butt and thighs causes healthy blood circulation to struggle. This places stress on your heart. The result is that your body does not get the oxygen it needs and requires on a minute by minute basis to operate properly.
This leads to a greater chance of contracting heart disease, cancer, diabetes, unhealthy weight gain, a loss of bone density, a higher mortality rate and a long list of serious health problems.
So the minute your butt hits the chair, unhealthy things begin to happen to your body. Unfortunately, if you think that exercise can counter-effect this dangerous and possibly deadly behavior, you might be wrong.
Toronto researchers pulled data from more than 40 important international studies on sitting, sedentary lifestyles and physical fitness. What they found may make physically fit people think twice about how healthy they really are.
Dr. David Alter is a senior scientist at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, who conducted the study. He says that their “study finds that despite the health-enhancing benefits of physical activity, this alone may not be enough to reduce the risk for disease” caused by extended periods of sitting.
4 Life-Saving Products that Help You Stand, Move More and Sit Less
In a previous blog post we covered how exercise alone can not offset the negative effects of sitting too much. So you have to sit less than you do right now, even if you exercise a lot.
Fortunately, there are 4 awesome products that can help you live a longer, healthier life simply by getting you off your butt.
1 – A Standing Desk
This is exactly what it sounds like. Standing desks are taller than the traditional 30 to 32 inch high desk you are probably using right now. They require that you stand while you work, and generally measure between 40 and 45 inches from the floor to desktop. You can purchase them with a single, permanent height, or a hand crank adjustable feature.
2 – An Electric Adjustable Desk
This is a stand up desk with an electric motor. These can be pricey. But with the simple push of a button, your entire desk can be raised or lowered to any height. This is a great workplace health answer for a workstation or desk that will be used by multiple employees, all able to set the desk to their perfect height.
3 – A Treadmill Desk
Treadmill desks surged in popularity in the early 21st century. They are taller than permanent height, hand crank and electric standup desks. That extra height is needed, since a treadmill is what you are standing and walking on while you work. There is a slight learning curve to working while you walk, which is surprisingly easy to become adjusted to.
4 – A Stability Ball
This does not get you to sit less. But it allows you to sit in a healthy way. An exercise ball or stability ball requires that you work multiple muscles to stay balanced when you sit on it. It also promotes proper spinal alignment as you constantly change positions. You may also find that your abs become flatter and more toned over time, as your core is consistently involved.