The Daily Mail’s Negative Health Effects of Sitting

March 28, 2014

The research behind the negative health effects of sitting grows on almost a daily basis. It seems that sitting for hours on end is unavoidable with desk jobs, long commutes and relaxing in front of the television. But the fact of the matter is that sitting is impacting our health. The Daily Mail, with the help of health experts, reported new stats surrounding the negative effects of sitting, and you may be surprised at the results.

Besides poor health, sitting also causes cankles! When you sit, blood is unable to effectively pump from the legs back to the heart, creating high pressure in the veins in the lower legs and feet. This pressure may leak into tissues and cause inflammation. Extended sitting can cause the problem to escalate, with hardened skin, leg ulcers and brown stains on the lower extremities. What’s worse, the decreased circulation in the legs can raise the risk of blood clots.

Raised blood sugar is another negative health effects of sitting too long. Insulin resistance is a step before type 2 diabetes. Insulin helps regulate glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream, and the muscles in turn store the sugar. When the muscles aren’t moving, they become less skilful at absorbing glucose from the bloodstream and actually become insulin-resistant.

This resistance can happen after just one day of prolonged sitting, according to a study from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. But making small, consistent movements like sitting and standing throughout the day can help lessen the risk.

You may not be aware, but immobility has the potential to cause constipation—yikes! As you sit, the body has fewer contractions that push along the contents of the gut, which causes the bowel to become dry. Low impact exercise is a sure cure for lowering this risk, like taking the stairs or walking around the block during lunch.

A sedentary lifestyle also causes heartburn. Not moving after lunch causes the stomach to empty slower and produce more acid to aid in digestion. The acidity leads to a burning sensation in your chest and mouth, so don’t forget to stand and move after a meal.

Migraines and decreased cognitive function are other negative effects of prolonged sitting. Hunching at your desk causes the neck to strain backwards as you stare at the computer screen. This in turn affects the nerves in the neck, which can result in a severe headache. Moving muscles encourage good blood flow throughout the body and to the brain. So if you’re moving regularly, you’re getting enough blood and oxygen to the brain, to boost overall brain function.

This last fact is surprising, but a sedentary lifestyle causes joint and muscle pain. Prolonged sitting leads to obesity and a large body mass creates pressure on the joints, and weak muscles from lack of use. Some studies claim that muscle weakness leads to osteoarthritis in the knees, since the knee wasn’t meant to be bent in a sitting angle all day.

See the full article, here.

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