To be honest, everything will kill you eventually (unless you’ve manage to achieve immortality), but a life full of constant sitting can accelerate our demise. That’s right – the one thing we do, almost universally, each day has a profoundly negative effect on our health – and there may not be much we can do about it.
Before we talk about ideas to reduce sitting and stay healthy, let’s take a look at some of these proven facts that demonstrate how bad sitting can really be:
People who spend most of their day sitting are more likely to be overweight. This probably doesn’t come as a surprise. When we are sitting we aren’t moving. Moving burns calories. Even walking around the office, or to your car – these are activities that burn small amounts of calories each day. In a job or activity that requires frequent movement, these small calorie-burning actions begin to add up fairly quickly. It may not be intense exercise, but over the course of an entire day it’s enough to make a difference.
Want to avoid losing all those gains? Get your butt off the chair. Sitting for long stretches of time can literally waste away your large leg and gluteal muscles. You’re legs, hips, and back are also at risk. When we are sitting down, our muscles are typically in a shortened state. Prolonged periods in this shortened state can cause significant muscle loss.
Depression and Anxiety
Believe it or not – prolonged periods of sitting down can significantly contribute to depression and anxiety. Scientists actually don’t know how the two are linked, but data suggests that those who are sitting down for longer periods of time are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. Unfortunately, those with severe depression and anxiety are often unable to do much more than sitting, causing a cyclical effect.
You’ll notice that the evidence against sitting presented above all have one thing in common – they all are based on observations and associations, rather than experimentation.
Taking A Deeper Look – Does Sitting Really Cause Health Problems?
You’ll notice that the evidence against sitting presented above all have one thing in common – they all are based on observations and associations, rather than experimentation. And that’s okay – after all, it wouldn’t be very ethical to conduct such an experiment on human beings. So all we really have is correlative data, rather than causal data. Ever hear the phrase ‘correlation does not always equal causation’? This could definitely apply in this situation.
Take the link between sitting and obesity for example. Does sitting actually cause obesity, or is it just correlated with obesity? Does the lack of physical activity from people who are sitting for prolonged periods of time directly contribute to obesity, or is an obese person simply less inclined to engage in physical activity? These types of situations illustrate the importance of critical thinking and an ability to use reason. There’s usually no simple answer that will lead to massive improvements in health. Rather, everything is interconnected.