Wednesday, October 29, 2014

How Sitting Is Slowly Killing You and What You Can Do About It

It’s funny how sometimes our own amazing advancement can develop a gradual demise. As we progress with technology and policy at a rate that no known species can parallel, we also contribute to negative health without intending to do so. Obesity was hardly a problem centuries ago, when overweight appearance was commonly associated with royalty and comfort. Now, thanks to mass production and a highly profitable market, food is much easier to get and far less healthy. This is obvious to most people, it’s the not so obvious ways our daily lives harm us that come as a shock, particularly one: sitting.

Yes, sitting down could be killing you slowly. If not, it still could be having some serious health implications. The act of sitting may seem relatively harmless. The average American does it for hours at a time every single day. It’s comfortable, it’s convenient, it allows us to focus on our work or binge on Netflix episodes of our favorite show, but studies by medical journals claim too much of it has been linked to higher chances of untimely death.

Think of ourselves as an animal, because essentially we are. Before civilization there weren’t comfortable recliners to lounge in, computer chairs to spin around the office, or sofas to fall into and waste a day away. Biologically, sitting is kind of a foreign activity when taken in the amount we do it, and our bodies suffer because of this. Nearly 150 years ago, people spent nearly 90% of their day moving around. In contemporary society, we lounge on our butts for approximately 60% of the day.

Health Implications of Too Much Sitting

There are many different reasons too much sitting is bad for you, we’ll start with some of the basic and obvious ones.


Hardly a surprise, but many are torn between the “chicken or the egg” concept here. Some claim that more sitting comes as people gain weight and become obese. Let’s consider the root cause of weight gain, however, to put it in perspective: calorie expenditure. When compared to sitting, standing burns about 160 more calories on a daily basis.

There’s no real nutritional or physical science needed here; simply reducing the time spent sitting will reduce the likeliness of weight gain, especially in a society with such available and unhealthy food. There has also been research at an Energy Metabolism Laboratory that suggests a link between sitting and an increased appetite. Sitting not only decreases your ability to burn calories, it increases your tendency to consume them.

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