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Get out of your chair! The health risks of a sedentary daily routine.

“Exercise is good for you”. “Keep Fit”. “Use it or lose it”.

We have all heard these phrases reminding us about the importance of a physically active lifestyle. The idea that fitness is essential to well being, derives from the positive effect which exercise has on body fat levels, heart disease and blood pressure. However, this is not the whole story.

While exercise is of course important, several recent scientific studies have investigated the effects of a sedentary lifestyle on the body. These studies have shown that even when taking into account people´s age and physical activity levels, individuals that sit the most have far greater mortality rates, when compared to those who sit the least.

The idea that sitting is a health risk is naturally problematic because so much of our days, in Western societies, are spent sitting. We sit on our way to work or school, we sit at home (in front of the TV). All this sitting rapidly adds up and becomes problematic. These scientific studies have found that sitting continuously can increase your mortality rate by up to 40%, over a fifteen year period, depending on how long you actually sit. This means that even if they exercise, people with sitting jobs have double the rate of cardiovascular disease, when compared to active jobs.

Why does this happen?

When you sit down the electrical activity of your legs essentially stops. Calorie burning drops to very low levels and, the enzymes that help to break up body fat drops significantly. After 2 hours of sitting “good cholesterol” drops by 20 %. This, together with the fact that food intake also tends to increase while sitting means that, quite simply “too much sitting can make you fat”.

What can you do about it?

These scientific studies clearly show that a sedentary lifestyle has numerous health risks. They have also shown that punctuating long periods of sitting with breaks results in lower waist circumference, lower Body Mass Index, lower blood lipid levels and, increased glucose tolerance.

It is important to keep moving! The solution is simple: get out of your chair as often as possible and move around as much as you can during the day. When leaving your seat, attempt some simple exercise if possible. If not, simply walk. These same scientific studies seem to show that the negative effects of prolonged sitting can be reduced by some walking.

These results will be even better if you make walking part of your daily fitness plan.

Walking thirty to sixty minutes daily, with correct posture and arm involvement has numerous health benefits. These include lowered chance of contracting cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, anxiety and depression.

Life expectancy increases even if you suffer from obesity or high blood pressure.

Furthermore, walking increases bone health, especially strengthening the hip bone; lowers harmful low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol; and raises good high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. It has even been found to also prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Who can say no to so many benefits?

Whatever you decide to do in order to punctuate the time your lifestyle makes you sedentary, choose something you enjoy doing. Get out of your chair and do it! Having fun while doing it will keep you coming back for more; this in turn translates to increased health benefits.

Finally, spread the word by sharing the infographic posted below.
Sitting is Killing You
Via: Medical Billing And Coding

Suggestions for further reading:

http://www.thewalkingsite.com/

http://walking.about.com/od/beginners/a/quickstart.htm

http://walking.about.com/cs/walkoflife/a/walkoflife.htm

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