12 REASONS WHY SITTING TOO MUCH IS BAD FOR YOUR HEALTH · Parkinson's Resource Organization


Category: Newsworthy Notes

Dementia Is More Likely

If you sit too much, your brain could look just like that of someone with dementia. Sitting also raises your risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, which all play a role in the condition. Leading a physically active lifestyle can have a significant impact on the wellbeing of people with dementia. Exercise is beneficial for physical and mental health and may improve the quality of life for people in all stages of the condition. Physical activities are sometimes defined as those activities that increase your heart rate and cause you to breathe more deeply. This includes everyday activities such as walking, gardening or dancing, as well as sports and exercises with the specific aim of improving fitness.

If You Don’t Move It, You Could Lose It

Scientists have found another important clue to why nerve cells die in neurodegenerative diseases, based on studies of the developing brain. “It appears that if a cell is not appropriately stimulated by other cells, it self-destructs” said one of the researchers. Also, adults who aren’t active may be more likely to get osteoporosis (weakened bones) and could slowly become unable to perform basic tasks of everyday life, like taking a bath or using the toilet. Moving less stimulates and stresses the muscles less, telling the brain that said muscles are no longer necessary.  So the muscle atrophies (shrinks) and the brain gets a little out of practice at moving those muscles.  Smaller muscles and a brain full of cobwebs and rust make moving even harder. 

It Hurts Your Heart – Regular exercise is an important way to lower your risk of heart disease. Exercising for 30 minutes or more on most days can help you lose weight, improve your cholesterol, and even lower your blood pressure by as many as five to seven points. Scientists first noticed something was up in a study that compared two similar groups: transit drivers, who sit most of the day, and conductors or guards, who don’t. Those that sat were about twice as likely to get heart disease as those that stood.

It Can Shorten Your Life – You’re more likely to die earlier from any cause if you sit for long stretches at a time. It doesn’t help if you exercise every day or not. Regular, moderate physical activity such as brisk walking can increase life expectancy by several years, a new large study shows. The benefit of exercise was seen regardless of people’s weight, age, sex and health conditions, including Parkinson’s disease.

You’ll Undo All That Exercise – The effects of too much sitting are hard to counter with exercise. Even if you work out 7 hours a week—far more than the suggested 2-3 hours—you can’t reverse the effects of sitting 7 hours at a time. Don’t throw away all that arduous work at the gym by hitting the couch for the rest of the day. Keep moving!

Your Anxiety Might Spike – It could be that you’re often by yourself and engaged in a screen-based activity. If this disrupts your sleep, you can get even more anxious. Plus, too much alone time can make you withdraw from friends and loved ones, which is linked to social anxiety. Scientists are still trying to figure out the exact cause. Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins—chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers—and improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress. Meditation, acupuncture, massage therapy, even breathing deeply can cause your body to produce endorphins.

It Wrecks Your Back – Sitting, in an office chair or in general, is a static posture that increases stress in the back, shoulders, arms, and legs, and can add enormous amounts of pressure to the back muscles, neck and spinal discs. It’s even worse if you slouch. Look for an ergonomic chair. That means it’ll be the right height and support your back in the proper spots. But remember: No matter how comfortable you get, your back still won’t like a long sitting session. Get up and move around for a minute or two every half hour to keep your spine in line. 

Your Odds of Diabetes Rise – Yup, you’re more likely to have it, too, if you sit all day. It’s the actual sitting that seems to do it. It isn’t clear why, but doctors think sitting may change the way your body reacts to insulin, the hormone that helps it burn sugar and carbs for energy. Too much sitting is linked to heart disease, diabetes, and premature death. … Over the course of these studies, people who sat for prolonged periods of time had a higher risk of dying from all causes — even those who exercised regularly.

You Could Get DVT – Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a clot that forms in the veins, usually in your legs often because you sit still for too long. Symptoms include a sore, swollen, red, warm calf. That clot can move through your veins. It can continue travelling along them until it gets stuck in a smaller vein It can be serious if the clot breaks free and lodges in your lung. Some people have no symptoms. That’s why it’s a good idea to break up long sitting sessions.

You’ll Gain Weight – Watch a lot of TV? Surf the web for hours on end? You’re more likely to be overweight or obese. Too much sitting doesn’t cause weight gain, says study. Prolonged sitting may not cause weight gain, but it is still harmful to health. If you exercise every day, that’s good, but it won’t make a huge dent in extra weight you gain because of too much screen time.

It Leads to Varicose Veins – Sit for too long and blood can pool in your legs which adds pressure in your veins. They could swell, twist, or bulge, what doctors call varicose veins. You may also see spider veins, bundles of broken blood vessels nearby. They usually aren’t serious, but they can ache.

Your Cancer Risk Goes Up – You may be more likely to get colon, endometrial, or lung cancer. The more you sit, the higher the odds. Older women have higher odds of breast cancer. That doesn’t change if you’re super-active. What matters is how much you sit. Too much sitting increases the risk of death from cancer… A nearly 50 percent increased risk of death from any cause.

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Updated: August 16, 2017