Health hazards from prolonged sitting


SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – Many Americans sit for a staggering 15 hours a day.

Spending too much time in a chair, car, or couch can lead to weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease.

But our health expert, Karen Owoc, is here with even more reasons to get up and move.

Serious Health Effects from Prolonged Sitting

1. Memory loss — Researchers at UCLA found an association between sedentary behavior and memory loss.

• Regions of the brain (medial temporal lobe) associated with forming new memories showed signs of thinning in people (age 45 to 75) that sat for extended periods.

• Reducing sedentary behavior may be an intervention for improving brain health in middle-aged and older adults.

2. Low back pain [DEMO] — Here’s why… Shortened hip flexors (from being in the sitting position) “tug” on the lumbar spine. The human body is meant to be erect, but it is very adaptable and will adapt to being “bent”.

3. Fatter rear end

• Researchers found that the growth of lipid droplets (molecules that carry fats) in the buttocks accelerated when the cells were exposed to sustained, chronic pressure (such as what happens to your buttocks when sitting).

• Sustained loading in the tissues = fatter rear end.

4. Rapid rise in chronic disease risk (e.g., type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and potentially premature death).

• Study: Healthy young adults that regularly clocked in 10,000 steps/day were cut back to 1,500 steps for 2 weeks.

• In two weeks, the participants were unable to run for as long or at the same intensity.

• Increase in body fat (particularly around the waist), liver fat, and triglycerides.

• Substantial loss in skeletal muscle mass and insulin sensitivity decrease in 2 weeks.

5. Weak bones — Old bone continually breaks down and is replaced with new, fresh bone tissue, but when you sit too much, the body replaces less of what it loses.

• The result: fragile bones (osteoporosis) — especially in older adults.

• Standing and walking are “weight-bearing” exercises that stress your bones and is good for the skeleton (increases bone density).

6. Cancer — Prolonged TV viewing and time spent sitting (occupational and recreational) is associated with increased risks of certain types of cancer.

• Meta-analysis (Journal of the National Cancer Institute): Risk of colon and endometrial cancer jumps 8% and 10% respectively for every additional two hours spent sitting per day.

• Possible cause: increased weight gain, inflammation, and other changes

7. Blood clots — The muscles in your calves are the “pumps” that move blood back up to the heart. When these muscles are immobile, blood flow is reduced. Blood pools in the legs and clot-preventing proteins decrease, which increase risk of blood clots.

• Study: Women who sat 40 or more hours a week had double the risk of a life-threatening blood clot moving to their lungs (pulmonary embolism) com-pared to those who sat less than 10 hours.

• Don’t sit cross-legged.

The Takeaway: Researchers found that the more people move throughout the day, the happier they are — all the more reason to get up and move.

Remember from last week… whether you’re sitting and working, studying, or watching TV, follow the “20-8-2” rule.

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