Too Much Sitting: Yes! It Is Bad For Your Health

Too Much Sitting Bad For You
We Need To Sit Down Less

Too much sitting is bad for your health even if you exercise. Now that is the truth. This was an eye-catching and interesting read I had in this research article published in the health journal, Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews. Basically, if you sit for too long in a day it will negate the benefit of exercise.

Wow, so even if you meet the 30min of exercise a day guideline sitting all day at the desk, car or sofa watching TV will put your health at risk.

Read on to find out more why too much sitting is bad for your health and what you can do now to help yourself.

Why Sitting Is Bad For Your Health

If you watch the following video it will help you understand how bad too much sitting is for us:

You probably are just as shocked as I was to see the difference between sitting vs standing in the amount of fat in our blood stream after we eat.

So you heard Dr Marc Hamilton of the University if Missouri, mention lipase.

Lipase is affected when we sit for too long, which can contribute to metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a disease which puts at risk for cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes.

The Australian Study

In Australia they have done a large study following people’s activity levels. They wanted to tests how sedentary we are. Importantly they don’t just see work sitting as bad, but the total amount of time in day we sit anywhere.

This is the one I mentioned earlier in the post that I saw in the Exercise and Sport Sciences Reviews journal.

What They Thought – “The Active Couch Potato”

The researchers found that there is a difference between too little exercise and too much sitting. What they mean is you could be sitting for 8 hours in a day and still pass the 30min exercise mark. So someone could be seen as not doing too little exercise but too much sitting.

Where does the word sedentary come from?  It comes from the Latin word sedere meaning “to sit”.

In the too much sitting study the researchers came up with a term “The Active Couch Potato”. Again meaning someone who could be doing enough daily moderate-intense physical activity, but have too many sedentary behaviours.

What They Found – “Breaks are Important”

  • Women are more at risk than men for metabolic problems when sitting and watching TV for many hours,
  • Those who had more breaks from sitting in a day had smaller waists,
  • There are health benefits of reducing and breaking up prolonged sitting time.

What Can You Do Right Now To Help Yourself?

Here are some things you can do to help with the problem of too much sitting in front of your laptop:

  1. Try standing up when reading this article – standing burns more calories than sitting.
  2. Move your laptop – try moving your laptop from a normal desk to a higher work surface where you can stand.
  3. Sit on a gym ball – the ball will move and make your muscles work to keep you still.
  4. Do some chair-robics – become inventive in ways to work muscles whilst sitting like bum squeezes, calf raises and leg stretches, Fig 4 hip stretching etc…
  5. Pomodoro Timer – the pomodoro technique is a time management tool using a clock to remind you to take short break. Try out different pomodoro timers here, there is even one for your Apple iphone.
  6. Just Start Walking – this a new health initiative, which you can read more about on our blog.

Sitting is something we all have to do. However, we don’t all have to sit the entire day long in one position. You may think you are protecting your health by doing gym everyday, but you can do something more simple, don’t sit too long and move about.

Hope you enjoyed the article and we would love to hear you inventive ways of breaking up your sitting time. Why not contact us and let us know what you do to keep healthy. I will post the good tips I receive.

Reference:

  1. Owen N, Healy GN, Matthews CE, Dunstan DW. Too much sitting: the population health science of sedentary behavior. Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 2010 Jul;38(3):105-13.