Get Up! Stand Up! The Dangers of Sitting

dangers of sitting too long
Dr. Lindsey Mcilvena, MD

In her day job, treating patients living with chronic disease, nutrition and lifestyle are not after-thoughts, they’re central to helping her patients get well. She’s also our go-to expert on plant-based diets.

Do you sit a lot at work? At home? During your commute? Listen up, because sitting is emerging as the next big public health crisis.

Looking at the science, here are the top reasons you don’t want to sit for too long — at work, or at home in front of the TV.

1. Your exercise doesn’t balance out all that sitting.
You’re feeling great cause you’re meeting the CDC’s recommended exercise guidelines, right? Well, first of all, good on ya! The bad news is that studies have shown that even with all that exercise, if you’re sitting a lot, you’re still at risk for chronic diseases. Which ones you ask? Keep reading.

2. Your risk of chronic disease is increased.
Even when you’re an “active couch potato” (See #1), there are still measurable increases in your risk for high blood pressure, weight gain, and prediabetes. Prolonged sitting, it appears, puts you on the fast track to heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

3. Your risk of death goes up.
A study out of Canada showed that prolonged sitting may increase the risk of not only death from heart disease, but also an increased risk of death from all causes. This is pretty grim stuff! I hope you aren’t taking this bad news sitting down.

Before you throw your hands up in exasperation, there is some good news. Several studies have shown that breaking up sitting can mitigate many of these risks. If you’re tied to a desk job with no hope of getting a standing desk, or you just cannot get your TV viewing to under two hours a day, just get up for at least 5 minutes every hour. And try not to sit for more than stretches of 40 minutes.

The bottom line? Get up, and stand up for your health!

Sources: National Institutes of Health, CDC 1, CDC 2

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