Here's Exactly What Too Much Sitting Does to Your Body from Here's Exactly What Too Much Sitting Does to Your Body

Here's Exactly What Too Much Sitting Does to Your Body

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Here's Exactly What Too Much Sitting Does to Your Body

The price of leading an inactive lifestyle is high and it comes in the form of physical pain, obesity, and even mental health problems. It sounds like a paradox— something people love to do to feel better ends up, in the long run, making them feel a lot worse.

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Cancer

Sitting for long periods of time increases your risk for colon, endometrial and, possibly, lung cancer by 66 percent, according to a study, which looked at more than 4 million individuals and 68,936 cancer cases. The research found that even in physically active individuals, sitting increased the risk, and the risk worsened with each two hour increase in sitting time.

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Obesity

This is hardly a surprise. In a study on weight gain and loss, where every aspect of diet and exercise was controlled in a lab, researchers added 1,000 calories to all of the subjects’ daily diets. None of the people were permitted to exercise. Those who maintained their weight did so by moving more throughout the day. But not all kinds of sitting may be equal. Research analysis found that obesity was prospectively associated with time spent watching TV per week but not other types of sitting.

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Bad posture

When you sit for too long, it becomes difficult to maintain good posture. You will naturally begin to slouch and slump as you reposition yourself to keep comfortable. Before too long, this slouching at the desk will begin to affect your posture when you stand and walk. Poor posture doesn’t only look unattractive, but it’s painful and messes up the spine.

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Fat is stored

LPL, or lipoprotein lipase, is an enzyme that breaks down fat and uses it as energy. When the enzyme isn’t working as it should, that fat is stored. In a study, mice were tested for LPL levels in three states—laying down for most of the day, standing for most of the day and exercising. LDL activity in the laying mice was very low, levels rose more than 10 times when the mice simply stood.

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Heart disease

In a study men and women who sat more than six hours a day died earlier than their counterparts who limited sitting time to three hours a day or less. The study surveyed 53,440 men and 69,776 women who were healthy at the start of the study and over the course of the 14-year follow-up they saw a higher rate of mortality among the frequent sitters. Associations were strongest for cardiovascular disease mortality.

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Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis is a health complication in which dangerous blood clots form in the large veins of your legs. Sometimes, pieces of these clots can break away from the clot itself and be pumped into the narrow blood vessels of the lungs. The risk of complications caused by deep vein thrombosis is highest in people who fly often, sit for prolonged periods of time, smoke and are pregnant.

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Diabetes

Dutch study shows that just an extra hour of sitting is enough to increase your chance of developing the condition by 22 percent. The conclusion was that sedentary behavior at least partly preceded type 2 diabetes, as the associations were similar among participants who did not spend more time sedentary because of their health. Separate studies suggest that being inactive for more than three hours a day decreases people’s life expectancy by two years.

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Hip problems

Weakened muscles combined with poor circulation from keeping your legs still for a prolonged period of time lead to a number of leg and hip problems. Your gluteus muscles are some of the most important muscles in your legs. They are responsible for helping you keep balance. When you sit for a longtime, your glutes are at rest and doing nothing but cushioning you. As these muscles lose their tone, you may experience trouble maintaining good balance. 

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Depression

Since sitting reduces circulation it’s harder for “feel-good hormones” to make their way to receptors. A study followed 9,000 middle-aged women and determined that those who sat longer and did not meet minimum exercise requirements suffered from depression at much higher rates compared with the women who sat less and exercised more. When it came to sitting, those who sat for more than seven hours a day were 47 percent more likely to suffer from depression than those who sat four hours or fewer.

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Chronic pain

Weight gain combined with poor posture inevitably leads to issues with chronic pain. When you sit for too long, the muscles in your back and neck tense up and before you know it, you’ll be suffering from serious aches and pains throughout your shoulders, neck and back. 

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Muscle problems

Muscles are healthiest when they are being used and challenged on a regular basis. Keep them engaged. Muscles are pliable but when locked in sitting position for the majority of the day, every day, they do get stiff. After years of constantly sitting, the body is used to sitting and not as proficient at running, jumping or even standing.

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Strained nerves

Being in a sitting position for too long causes the your muscles to pull the nerves around them, which can cause pain. The nerves are pinched and you feel pain in your shoulders and lower back. Do you now understand why people who work desk jobs complain of back pain more often?

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Anxiety

Sitting for more than six hours a day has been linked with a higher risk of mental health issues such as anxiety. A study collected data from 3,367 government employees as a part of a broader health outreach program. They each filled out a psychological assessment for four weeks. Those who exercised after work were not protected from the adverse effects of sitting. Even when they were physically active in their off hours, those who sat most of the day still showed higher rates of anxiety.

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Overproductive pancreas

Cells in muscles that have not been moving don’t respond well to insulin, according to a study. The result is the pancreas making more and more, which can lead to diabetes. Interrupting sitting time with short bouts of light- or moderate-intensity walking lowers glucose and insulin levels in overweight and obese adults.

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Premature death

People who watched an average six hours of TV a day lived an average 4.8 years fewer than those who didn’t watch any television, an Australian study found. Every hour of TV that participants watched after age 25 was associated with a 22-minute reduction in their life expectancy.

Here's Exactly What Too Much Sitting Does to Your Body