Do you have “sitting disease”? Do you realize how many hours in a day you are spending in a sedentary position, i.e. at the office, driving, eating, watching TV, on the computer, etc., etc? There have been scientific research studies done on the changing lifestyle from a more active one to a more sedentary one and the implications of more physical inactivity. Per this research, the average person it sitting (aka sedentary) 12 hours a day. 3.2 million deaths a year are related to physical inactivity.
The human body was designed to move, and for thousands of years that is exactly what humans did. In the mid-20th century, however, rapid technological advances (cars, TVs, computers, etc.) began chipping away at physical activity, and as technology was able to do more, people became increasingly sedentary.
Here are some of the benefits of standing more often, to break the sedentary pattern of your day:
1. Bones, like muscles, require regular movement to maintain strength – low level activity helps improve your bone health.
2. Standing delivers more oxygen and nutrients to the brain through improved blood flow.
3. When you are moving, fat-burning enzymes stay activated, burning far more calories than when you are sitting. It can add up over time.
4. Studies have linked prolonged sitting to a great risk for colon, breast, and endometrial cancers. Research suggests that regular movement boosts natural antioxidants that kill cell-damaging – and potentially cancer-causing – free radicals.
5. Reducing sedentary time is linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and death due to heart attack.
6. Blood circulation is crucial to good health, but sitting can impede blood flow, affecting every system of the body.
7. As the rate of those affected with Type 2 diabetes continues to increase, breaking up sedentary time can aid in managing insulin levels and reducing that risk, as there is a significant correlation between excessive sitting and diabetes.
8. Research has found strong links between sedentary behavior and a variety of serious health problems, which increase the risk of early mortality.
9. Standing is a simple, but underrated, remedy to increase alertness and receive a natural jolt of energy.
10. Standing on the job promotes a greater mental awareness, which leads to far greater productivity and improved concentration. Low-level movement can also reduce pain and discomfort, allowing people to focus better.
11. Subtle movement – even standing – breaks up prolonged sitting and promotes high HDL (“good” cholesterol) and lower LDL (“bad” cholesterol) which in turn can improve blood pressure and lower the risk of heart attack.
12. Alternating between sitting and standing increases the enzymes needed to metabolize food.
13. Moving muscles pumps fresh blood and oxygen to the brain, which releases mood enhancing chemicals.
14. Standing enlists large muscle groups along with the vestibular system which controls balance. Unused, weak muscles leave your joints unstable and prone to injury and chronic pain.
15. People who are more active have a lower risk of osteoporosis than those who are more sedentary.
16. Our bodies were made to stand, so maintaining the seated position is physically stressful. This, in turn, can cause body pain, herniated discs, damaged nerves, degenerated joints, and dementia.
17. Standing with proper posture puts the spine into a more naturally aligned position.
Make it a habit. Setting a time each hour to stand up and walk around – even for a minute or two - will help to break that sedentary behavior and help you avoid the issues from “sitting disease”!