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Health Effects Of Prolonged Sitting And How To Prevent These

HomeEducationalHealth Effects Of Prolonged Sitting And How To Prevent These

Did you know that prolonged sitting can be as deadly as smoking? Studies have linked sitting for long hours with a number of health concerns, including cardiovascular disease, obesity, and cancer.

Another adverse effect of prolonged sitting is metabolic syndrome, a disorder that involves several conditions such as high blood pressure, increased blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist area, and abnormal cholesterol levels.

Staying seated for six hours or more a day makes you 40% more likely to die within the next 15 years than someone who spends less time sitting.

One study compared adult individuals who spent less than two hours a day in front of the TV or computer with those who remained seated for more than four hours a day. provides a selection of student chairs ranging from German designed Ergo-dynamic chairs that promote good posture to stools for the active student.

Based on the results of this study, adults who spent more time seated had almost 50% increased risk of death from any cause and about a 125% risk of events associated with cardiovascular disease. The sad fact is, most people sit 7.7 hours per day on average according to a 2008 research by Vanderbilt University.

The “Sitting Disease”

This ‘sitting disease’, a term coined by Dr. James Levine, a Mayo Clinic endocrinologist, is mainly caused by sedentary living. In a video, Dr. Levine discusses the various diseases that an adult individual may develop as a result of prolonged sitting.

He also shares simple routines that one can do every day to keep moving from time to time. This will help avoid having to stay in a sitting position for a long period of time while you are at your office desk or having a TV marathon at home.

Ways to Counteract the Health Effects of Sitting

To avoid having to remain in a sitting position too long at your office desk, Tim Ellis, director at a physiotherapy center in Mascot, NSW, Australia, suggests ergonomic “micro-breaking”.

Micro-breaks are short, biologically meaningful breaks that are regularly taken from time to time so a person does not stay in just one position for a long period of time.

You are not required to do anything extraordinary, you just have to be mindful of how long you have been in a sitting position and make an effort to stand at least once every hour and perform some moderate activity for a total of thirty minutes broken down and distributed within the day.

Dr. Brian Parr, an associate professor in the Department of Exercise and Health Sciences at the University of South Carolina Aiken, clarifies that performing moderate activity during microbreaks is not synonymous to exercising.

It could simply be standing up and walking over to your boss’ office or a colleague’s desk to discuss a report instead of sending them an email, or choosing to take the stairs instead of the elevator. At home, it could be doing small chores while Netflix marathon is on.

Your health is the most important thing you have in your life. And while your work is just as important, you need to remember that prioritizing your work does not mean that you have to sacrifice your health.

pearls of wisdom
Tim Ellis
Tim Ellis
Tim Ellis is the Principal Physiotherapist at Excel Physiotherapy and Wellness in Mascot, New South Wales, Australia. He specializes in treating complex necks and backs and developing highly effective exercise programs for his patients. Tim is committed to integrative health, healthy eating, exercise, and life long learning which he shares through his blogs.


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