BECAUSE MOVEMENT = HEALTH & FITNESS
By Dr. Mercola
Your body is designed for regular movement, but many Americans spend the bulk of their day sitting still instead. On average, a US adult spends nine to 10 hours each day sitting, which is so much inactivity that even a 30- or 60-minute workout can't counteract its effects.
Worse still, many Americans don't fit in a workout or a long walk either, which means their bodies are virtually always in a sedentary state. It's not that sitting is inherently dangerous… the danger is in the dose.
While a brief period of sitting here and there is natural, long periods of sitting day-in and day-out can seriously impact your health and shorten your life.
What Happens to Your Body When You Sit for Too Long?
Dr. James Levine, co-director of the Mayo Clinic and the Arizona State University Obesity Initiative, and author of the book Get Up! Why Your Chair Is Killing You and What You Can Do About It, has dedicated a good part of his career to investigating the health effects of sitting.
His investigations show that when you've been sitting for a long period of time and then get up, a number of molecular cascades occur. For example, within 90 seconds of standing up, the muscular and cellular systems that process blood sugar, triglycerides, and cholesterol—which are mediated by insulin—are activated.
All of these molecular effects are activated simply by carrying your own bodyweight. These cellular mechanisms are also responsible for pushing fuel into your cells and, if done regularly, will radically decrease your risk of diabetes and obesity.
In short, at the molecular level, your body was designed to be active and on the move all day long. When you stop moving for extended periods of time, it's like telling your body it's time to shut down and prepare for death. The Mind Unleashed featured a particularly noteworthy description of what happens in various areas of your body after prolonged sitting:
• Heart: When you sit, blood flows slower and muscles burn less fat, which makes it easier for fatty acids to clog your heart. Research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, for instance, showed that women who sit for 10 or more hours a day may have a significantly greater risk of developing heart disease than those who sit for five hours or less.
• Pancreas: Your body's ability to respond to insulin is affected by just one day of excess sitting, which leads your pancreas to produce increased amounts of insulin, and this may lead to diabetes.
Research published in Diabetologia found that those who sat for the longest periods of time were twice as likely to have diabetes or heart disease, compared to those who sat the least. Sitting for more than eight hours a day has also been associated with a 90 percent increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
• Colon Cancer: Excess sitting may increase your risk of colon, breast, and endometrial cancers. The mechanism isn't known for certain, but it could be due to excess insulin production, which encourages cell growth, or the fact that regular movement boosts antioxidants in your body that may eliminate potentially cancer-causing free radicals.
Findings presented at the 2015 Inaugural Active Working Summit also found that sitting increases:
◦Lung cancer by 54 percent
◦Uterine cancer by 66 percent
◦Colon cancer by 30 percent