There’s a reason why standing desks have replaced standard ones in some offices. Our technology may be getting smarter, however we’re becoming more sedentary (whether screen time or work settings are to blame for this is a separate discussion). Some sources even claim that prolonged sitting is just as bad for our health as smoking.
Statistics show that, on average, Canadian adults spend 10 hours of their waking time sitting. This is a growing concern because there’s definitely a downside to sitting down for too long or too much. Here are five negative effects of sedentary behaviour:
Shorter life span
When you sit or lie down, it counts as physical inactivity, which we all know is terrible for our overall health. But research has shown that your one-hour daily sweat sesh doesn’t matter as much as what you do for majority of your day. A 2017 study published in Annals of Internal Medicine found that regardless of whether or not you regularly exercise, sitting for uninterrupted, long periods of time increases your risk of an early death from any cause. Other research reveals that decreasing your sitting time by just three hours can add two years to your life.
Higher risk of cardiovascular disease
Heart health is important, so taking steps to prevent cardiovascular disease is always a good idea. But not taking enough literal (foot)steps can be doing some major damage to your health. Studies have shown a link between sedentary behaviour and cardiovascular health. One study in particular says that sitting for a total of more than 10 hours a day increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Higher risk of dementia
Dementia refers to a group of symptoms caused by brain disorders. Symptoms may include memory loss, as well as difficulties with thinking and problem-solving, which can affect one’s ability to do everyday tasks. Research suggests that sedentary behaviour plays as much of a role in increasing the risk of dementia as genetic factors.
Higher risk of Type 2 diabetes
Diabetes is a disease that can cause serious complications in various parts of the body. A study that involved 794,577 participants was published in the journal Diabetologia revealing that those who regularly sit for long durations double their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Higher risk of disability
We often take advantage of having the ability to perform mundane tasks such as getting out of bed or taking a shower. But regular prolonged sitting can affect our physical abilities in the future. “Each hour spent sitting could raise the risk of having trouble with tasks like dressing and eating regardless of physical activity levels, a study of people aged 60 and older suggests,” the CBC reports.
Lucky for us, there are things we can do to combat the “sitting disease”. In the video above, manual osteopath, Dr. Liza Egbogah, shares some fun stretches you can do to increase hip mobility, which like many parts of the body, is affected when we sit longer than we’re supposed to.