Sitting Increases Risk of Diabetes, Heart Disease and Death
Many people think that if they exercise daily, they have met the activity requirements for good health. But could this common belief be an illusion?
A new study finds that sitting for long periods may increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes and death — even for those who exercise regularly.
“Sitting is the kiss of death,” opines Ron DeAngelo of UPMC’s Center for Sports Medicine. People were not designed to sit for protracted periods, he explains.
The research shows prolonged sitting takes a great toll on health.
The research led by Dr. Emma Wilmot of England’s University of Leicester, who worked in tandem with scientists at Loughborough University, combined the results of 18 studies involving close to 800,000 participants. Published in the European journal Diabetologia, the study showed that those who sat the longest had twice the risk of diabetes and heart disease compared to those who sat the least. Somewhat surprisingly, this finding even included those who regularly engaged in moderate to vigorous workouts. Sitting for long hours was also associated with a higher death risk from all causes, but the strongest association was related to diabetes, Wilmot notes.
Recently, in a different study, the same research team discovered protracted sitting seems to increase the risk of kidney disease, particularly in women. Thomas Yates, MD, leader of that study, states that the evidence associating prolonged sitting with poorer health is expanding.
What can be done?
Wilmot notes that including the time spent driving, as well as seated in front of a desk or TV, an average person spends 50 to 70 percent of their day sitting down. The increased risks associated with sitting can be reduced by limiting the time spent in this position through measures like taking walks during lunch breaks or placing the laptop on a filing cabinet to enable working in a standing position, she says.
Yates also advises making modifications in this area, suggesting standing up two minutes for every 20 minutes spent sitting down. Additionally, he advocates standing up during commercials while watching television.
“We aren’t really at the point where we can give specific recommendations,” he points out. “But it does appear that the less time spent sitting, the better.”
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.