Columbia University Medical Center conducted a study in 2017 regarding the hazards of staying in a seated position for lengthy periods of time. It would behoove us all to be more aware of the consequences of sitting for long amounts of time. The average person sits for 7.7 hours per day. Let’s explore some of the reasons why it is important to engage in physical activity more frequently, rather than just remain sitting for hours on end.
Remaining seated for hours on end is not conducive to good mental health. A sedentary lifestyle can increase depression and anxiety. Regular exercise is good in fighting a variety of different mental challenges. Physical activity benefits both the mind and body. A direct correlation is not entirely clear, but evidence suggests that sitting for long periods increases the chance of getting some types of cancer. There is also the issue of obesity. One’s metabolism lowers when the person is inactive. We burn approximately 30% more calories when we stand as compared to sitting. If you were to go from taking say 10,000 steps per day down to 5,000 steps, insulin levels are raised, and enzyme activity is decreased. This can result in a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Sitting after a meal can compress the abdominal cavity, thus causing the digestive process to slow down. This, in turn, may lead to digestive problems such as constipation and heartburn. Cardiovascular health is another factor. Remaining seated for protracted periods doesn’t improve heart health. Just like any muscle in the body, the heart benefits from exercise, as well. Spinal alignment and posture can be negatively impacted by sitting for too long. Finally, and arguably most importantly, staying sitting down for long spells increases mortality rate. Remember to use common sense and moderation. Don’t overexert yourself. Whenever possible, do some sort of exercise, aerobics, or participate in physical activities. And remember to have fun! Do sports or other active hobbies like tennis, baseball, basketball, or just walking. Enjoy your life and reap the benefits of regular exercise.