Does exercising regularly reduce damage chronic sitting causes?

You've heard about how bad sitting is for you, but you go to the gym, you work out regularly, you're not at risk!  Or are you?

The research is out:  Death rates are high for people who spend most of their day sitting EVEN if they meet the minimum physical activity recommendations for physical activity on a weekly basis.  Yep, you read that right.  While getting enough exercise is great, it's not enough.  Too much sitting has been linked to:

  • An increase in biological aging of up to 8 years
  • A 50% greater risk of dying prematurely from all causes
  • A risk of heart attack equal to that of smokers
  • Increased risk of cancer
  • Increased overall fatigue, back pain, and neck pain

But why?

Our bodies are designed to move, by not moving and remaining seated for extended periods of time, the biological processes in our bodies change all the way down to the cellular and molecular level:

  • Blood flow stagnates
  • Risk of blood clots increases
  • Oxygen and glucose delivery to the brain slows
  • Cognitive functions decline
  • Insulins ability to transport glucose is inhibited
  • Insulin resistance increases
  • Triglyceride levels increase
  • HDL levels drop

And yes, this all happens regardless of whether or not you exercise!

It's up to you to figure out how to break up long periods of inactivity with movement to reduce the negative effects of sitting.  Some suggestions arise in increasing the opportunities to move throughout your day.

  • Walk or bike short distances instead of driving
  • If you do drive, park further away and walk or pick the furthest spot in the parking lot of retail spaces.
  • Take the stairs whenever possible
  • Use the printer down the hall or on another floor instead of the one in your office.
  • Walk to a different location to have lunch (park bench, outside seating area)
  • Think of house cleaning and yard work as an opportunity to stay healthy
  • Stand when you can at work, while talking on the phone, or walking to someone's office to talk instead of sending an email.
  • Break up tasks in your work day with a move break
  • Sit on a stability ball instead of a chair.



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