Too Much Sitting Is Not Good For Good Health and Mobility
- Sitting increases risk of immobility as we age
Studies support using a consistent exercise routine to help improve metabolism, reduce your risk of diabetes and certain cancers, help us maintain a healthy weight and improve your cardiovascular health.
Further research reveals that even when you engage in regular exercise, it may not be enough to offset the disadvantages to our good health from too much sitting.
Research led by Loretta DiPietro, PhD, department Chairman in exercise science at the Milken Institute School of Public Health, now finds that increasing inactivity as you age may also reduce your ability to get around and remain mobile.
During that study, the researchers examined data from people age 50 to 71 across eight to 10 years from a large NIH–AARP diet and health study that started with all healthy participants, between 1995 and 1996.
The researchers evaluated recordings of how much time people watched television, gardened, did housework, exercised or engaged in other physical activity during the study period.
The results were not surprising as they found those who were most active, sitting less than 6 hours each day, were the least disabled and those who were least active, getting less than 3 hours of activity a week, were the most disabled.
The researchers concluded that “reduction of sedentary time, combined with increased physical activity may be necessary to maintain function in older age.
The biological effects associated with prolonged sitting are an independent risk factor for other health conditions and early death as well. Today this is often called the “sitting disease,” the result of sitting for prolonged periods in front of a computer screen, texting, commuting and shopping online.
We do not have to work very hard not to leave our homes.
If we choose we can order everything we need online, including groceries in most areas. Entertainment, communication and video chatting may mean you don’t get out of your chair for hours at a time.
The health challenges resulting from sitting for prolonged periods are related to sedentary behavior, and while sitting is the most prevalent form of sedentary behavior, it is not the only one.
Any activity during which we exert very little energy is considered sedentary behavior. Although the scientific community has coined the term “sitting disease” to refer to metabolic syndrome and other ill effects of a sedentary life, the medical community does not use this as a diagnosis.
The results of sitting prolonged periods may include the following:
- Death: In a study of over 123,000 people, researchers found women who sat for 6 hours or more each day had a 94% increased risk of death from all causes during the study period than women who sat for 3 hours or less. Men who were inactive and sat for 6 hours or more were 48% more likely to die than men who were more active.
- Obesity: A study of 50,000 women over 6 years found every 2-hour increase in viewing television a day resulted in a 23% risk of obesity, and for every additional hour women spent sitting at work without getting up resulted in an additional 5% increased risk of obesity.
- Metabolic Syndrome: Absence of muscle contraction during extended frames of time reduces your ability to metabolize and process carbohydrates, leading to the Key risk factors for insulin resistance, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
- Cancer: A meta-analysis of 47 studies found an increasing amount of inactivity or sedentary behavior resulted in a higher risk for cancer and an increased risk of death from their diagnosis.
- Lower Back Pain: Sitting for long periods of time places added strain on your lower back, reduces your core strength and reduces circulation to the small muscles in your lower back, all leading to an increased risk of lower back pain.
Senior citizens who face issues with loss of mobility grapple with a loss of independence, resulting in psychological and social challenges.
Individuals who lose their ability to live on their own may experience an inability to socialize with their friends, an increasing sense of loss, growing depression and anger.
So, get up, get out, move around, meet and talk to people and live happy longer.
Eat healthy, Be healthy, Live lively
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