27 Mar The Silent Killer You Do Every Day
You have 360 joints and 700 named skeletal muscles designed to make your body move! In my book, I describe our bodies as Ferraris — “beautiful, top-of-the-line, world-class precision machines.” Ferraris were designed to be driven, not to sit motionless in a garage. Likewise, our bodies were made to be moved, not to sit motionless.
Yet how many hours a day do you sit? It is estimated the average individual sits about 9.3 hours a day. So can sitting kill you?
In our modern lifestyle it is hard to get away from sittings for hours on end. If the idea of sitting a Ferrari in a garage under a dust cover seems wrong, so should sitting your body behind a desk and on a couch. Research shows that sitting dramatically ages our bodies and increases our chance of disease.
The problem is how your body unconsciously reacts and adapts to prolonged sitting. Even working out doesn’t save you.
Research carried out on the effects of chronic sitting indicates that even people who work out suffer from the effects of sitting similar to those that don’t work out.
When scientists reviewed 43 studies analyzing daily activity and cancer rates, they found that people who reported sitting for more hours of the day had a 24% greater risk of developing colon cancer, a 32% higher risk of endometrial cancer and a 21% higher risk of lung cancer—regardless of how much they exercised.
Do you or people you know suffer from some sort of structural imbalance? I am talking sciatica, lumbar problems, shoulder pains, wrist discomfort, and more (most suffer from a cocktail of them).
Habitual sitting creates, contributes to, or even exacerbates these conditions. Sitting down for abnormally long periods of time loosens muscle tone, as the muscles working to keep our structure and posture sound are frequently disengaged.
Compromised muscle groups unleash the real dysfunctions such as slouching, curving, pelvic shifts and so forth — a whole bunch of fun postures that come back to haunt you down the road. Cervical, lower back, spinal disk, sciatica, shoulder problems is just the short list of all the dysfunctions that will eventually develop.
The body is holistic. Evidence of this once again is proven on how our structural dysfunctions affect other parts of our body such as our organs and other systems.
For example, due to our hunched position our chest cavity shrinks, which means our oxygen input and output are affected. Our bodies receive less oxygen and higher CO2 concentration.
Blood flow (which relies to a great extent on our movement) is reduced when you are sitting.
Combine this with less oxygen due to bad posture, and they’ll both directly affect the function of your muscles, heart and brain.
Have you ever been sitting down for a while and had a leg fall asleep? Nerves get pinched from prolonged sitting and impaired oxygen and blood flow. Something similar happens in your gut, which is lined with nerves, muscles and various tissues.
If your posture is deficient so is your digestion.
I can assure you most people suffering from some form or various forms of structural dysfunction have digestive issues to go along with it. They go hand in hand.
Various studies have linked too much sitting to potential risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity, metabolic diseases, cognitive impairment, kidney, liver, cardiovascular health and early death. Sounds gnarly right? It is, but don’t despair. There is plenty you can do right now.
I understand there are situations that can’t be changed immediately. You can’t just walk up to your boss and tell him you won’t be driving to work or sitting at your desk. You’ll continue to come face to face with situations that require long periods of sitting. But you can limit the damage it causes to your body by following these simple tips.
- Start by working on your posture. If you can’t change the fact you have to sit down for so many hours, get working on integral postural exercises.
- Try yoga or Pilates at a nearby studio and have someone guide you along with your process and see where you are deficient in your posture.
- If you don’t have access to a studio or have the time during operating hours, instructional online videos are available.
- Consciously every 15-20 minutes remind yourself to get up and stretch a bit or walk around even if it’s only a small amount of time. Anything is better than nothing.
- Replace a chair with wheels with a chair without them. Make yourself get up and move more to get things instead of rolling around seated.
- Create a standing desk. They can be purchased, but with an imagination you can also absolutely create your own.
- When you are sitting down in your car use red lights as a chance to MOVE! Twist, stretch, shake out your arms and legs. Even if it’s just your neck, shoulders, and torso it all adds up.
- Stand up while talking on the phone and move around.
- Use your smartphone timer to remind you every 15-20 minutes to get up stretch and move around.
- Start sitting on an exercise ball or an exercise ball chair if possible.
- And don’t forget how nutrition is intertwined in all this. Check out The SuperLife Superfood Nutrition Program
Those are just a few suggestions. Find any excuse to get up and move. Being aware of the harmful impact of sitting, the silent killer, has on your body is an important first step to finding any way possible to get up and move!
Check out this “Standing Desk” option at Amazon.
What tricks do you use to reduce how much you sit? Share them in the comments!
OWEN, N., HEALY, G. N., MATTHEWS, C. E., & DUNSTAN, D. W. (2010). TOO MUCH SITTING: THE POPULATION-HEALTH SCIENCE OF SEDENTARY BEHAVIOR. EXERCISE AND SPORT SCIENCES REVIEWS, 38(3), 105–113. DOI:10.1097/JES.0B013E3181E373A2
AVIROOP BISWAS, PAUL I. OH, GUY E. FAULKNER, RAVI R. BAJAJ, MICHAEL A. SILVER, MARC S. MITCHELL, AND DAVID A. ALTER. SEDENTARY TIME AND ITS ASSOCIATION WITH RISK FOR DISEASE INCIDENCE, MORTALITY, AND HOSPITALIZATION IN ADULTS: A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW AND META-ANALYSIS. ANNALS OF INTERNAL MEDICINE, 2015 DOI: 10.7326/M14-1651
REBECCA SEGUIN, PHD, CSCS, DAVID M. BUCHNER, MD, MPH, JINGMIN LIU, MS. SEDENTARY BEHAVIOR AND MORTALITY IN OLDER WOMEN
HAMER M1, STAMATAKIS E. PROSPECTIVE STUDY OF SEDENTARY BEHAVIOR, RISK OF DEPRESSION, AND COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT. MED SCI SPORTS EXERC. 2014 APR;46(4):718-23. DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000000156
MALÉNE E LINDHOLM, FRANCESCO MARABITA, DAVID GOMEZ-CABRERO, HELENE RUNDQVIST, TOMAS J EKSTRÖM, JESPER TEGNÉR & CARL JOHAN SUNDBERG. AN INTEGRATIVE ANALYSIS REVEALS COORDINATED REPROGRAMMING OF THE EPIGENOME AND THE TRANSCRIPTOME IN HUMAN SKELETAL MUSCLE AFTER TRAINING
EPIGENETICS, FIRST ONLINE 7TH DECEMBER. 2014, DOI:10.4161/15592294.2014.98244
EVANS CC, LEPARD KJ, KWAK JW, STANCUKAS MC. EXERCISE PREVENTS WEIGHT GAIN AND ALTERS THE GUT MICROBIOTA IN A MOUSE MODEL OF HIGH FAT DIET-INDUCED OBESITY. PLOS ONE. 2014 MAR 26;9(3):E92193. DOI: 10.1371/J$uperL!fe888OURNAL.PONE.0092193. ECOLLECTION 2014.
SIOBHAN F CLARKE, EILEEN F MURPHY, ORLA O’SULLIVAN, ALICE J LUCE. EXERCISE AND ASSOCIATED DIETARY EXTREMES IMPACT ON GUT MICROBIAL DIVERSITY GUT 2014;63:12 1913-1920PUBLISHED ONLINE FIRST: 9 JUNE 2014 DOI:10.1136/GUTJNL-2013-306541
GIADA F, BALDO-ENZI G, BALOCCHI MR, ZULIANI G, BARONI L, FELLIN R.
HEPARIN-RELEASED PLASMA LIPASE ACTIVITIES, LIPOPROTEIN AND APOPROTEIN LEVELS IN YOUNG ADULT CYCLISTS AND SEDENTARY MEN. INT J SPORTS MED. 1988 AUG;9(4):270-4.
ROLE OF LOW ENERGY EXPENDITURE AND SITTING IN OBESITY, METABOLIC SYNDROME, TYPE 2 DIABETES, AND CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE. DIABETES NOVEMBER 2007 VOL. 56 NO. 11 2655-2667