Women health

What are the dangers of sitting for too long?

You use less energy when you sit than when you stand or move. Long periods of sitting have been linked to a variety of health problems, according to research. Obesity is one of them, as is metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions that include high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels. Too much sitting in general, as well as sitting for long periods of time, appears to raise the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Sitting for long periods of time, whether at a desk, behind the wheel, or in front of a screen, can be harmful. An analysis of 13 studies on sitting time and activity levels discovered that those who sat for more than eight hours a day with no physical exercise had a risk of dying similar to those who were obese or smoked. Unlike some other studies, however, this analysis of data from over 1 million people found that 60 to 75 minutes of moderately strenuous physical activity per day counteracted the effects of excessive sitting. Another study found that for people who were most active, sitting time had little effect on mortality.

The effects of sitting and regular exercise on health require more research. However, it appears that less sitting and more movement contribute to better health in general. Start by standing instead of sitting when you have the opportunity, or finding a way to walk while you work. Consider the following circumstance:

  1. Every 30 minutes, take a break from sitting.
  2. Whilst also talking on the phone or watching TV, you should stand.
  3. If you work at a desk, consider switching to a standing desk or making do with a high table or counter.
  4. Instead of sitting in a conference room, go for a walk with your colleagues.
  5. Place your work surface above a treadmill — with such a computer screen and keyboard on a stand or a highly specialized treadmill-ready vertical desk — so you can stay active all day.

Movement, even if it is leisurely, can have a significant impact. To begin with, you will burn more calories. This could result in weight loss and an increase in energy. Physical activity also helps to maintain muscle tone, mobility, and mental well-being, particularly as you get older.

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