Walk don’t run while searching Google for the facts about your health. Let’s start with the word sedentary. Then add obsessive and compulsive TV binging, sporting events, news, Netflixing, tech toys, Twitter, Facebook… do the math… you’re logging in at a minimum, nearly eight hours a day and you wonder why you keep forgetting your password AT RISK.
Face the facts and then start treading to extend your life. Experts tell us that prolonged sitting has been linked to heart disease and high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol, and people with the most sedentary time are more than twice as likely to have cardiovascular disease than those with the least. Diabetes has also been linked to a sedentary lifestyle.
The pancreas produces insulin, a hormone that carries glucose to cells for energy. But cells in idle muscles don’t respond as readily to insulin, so the pancreas produces more and more, which can lead to diabetes and other diseases. A 2011 study found a decline in insulin response after just one day of prolonged sitting. And because studies have linked sitting to a greater risk for colon, breast and endometrial cancers one theory why is that excess insulin encourages cell growth. Another is that regular movement boosts natural antioxidants that kill cell-damaging — and potentially cancer-causing — free radicals.
I can add more health hazards to why sitting is not good for business or pleasure. Take a look at your posture when you sit. Most of us are slumped over in our chairs, limiting the use of muscles that support us when we stand upright. And what about our hips? Flexible hips keep us balanced but studies have found that decreased hip mobility is a main reason elderly people tend to fall. Add poor circulation in legs and over time blood circulations slows which can cause extra fluid, swollen ankles and varicose veins even dangerous blood clots called deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
And it’s not just the elderly. There is a ‘moral panic’ concerning the ‘couch kids’ culture in modern western society. Project STIL (Sedentary Teenagers and Inactive Lifestyles) at Loughborough University is investigating ‘what young people do’ and focuses on active and inactive pursuits chosen in their leisure time.
Dr. David Agus, author of The End of Illness states, “Sitting for five hours a day, even if you go to the gym for an hour [is] the equivalent of a smoking a pack a day.”
We’re all guilty… some of us are couch potatoes others are trying to master the art of sleeping, longer and are searching for the perfect mattress that fits…whether its cooler foam technology, or a electronic devise that lifts, lowers, and vibrates… your sedentary ways are about to change now and for good.
I am trying to reboot and change old sedentary behaviors into new life saving ones. It’s not easy as a journalist having to sit and write for hours… but what I have recently discovered is my creativity has increased ten fold while walking and writing on a treadmill desk.
I had a chance to walk and talk with Peter Schenk, the inventor of LifeSpan about how we can achieve optimum health by changing our sedentary lifestyles. WATCH
Stay tuned for parts 2 and three of my series on the negative health affects of a sedentary life versus a new creative way to write, edit, and post to increase your lifespan.