University Hospitals Case Medical Center’s Director of Wellness, Roy Buchinsky, says, sitting is the new smoking.
“Whereas smoking was public enemy number one,” says Buchinsky. “The ‘sitting sickness’ is now becoming epidemic.”
Buchinsky maintains that sitting all day increases your risk for disease as much as smoking does, and a new study confirms it.
NIH has released a new meta-analysis confirming that too much sitting increases the risk of “hospitalizations, all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer in adults independent of physical activity.”
The new meta-analysis looked at studies that have measured the effects of sitting. They looked at 14 cardiovascular disease and diabetes studies, 14 cancer studies, and 13 studies that examined at all causes of death.
The analysis confirmed that for each of these risks, sitting all day increased the likelihood of developing the condition regardless of outside exercise.
In other words, sitting for long periods during the day was independently associated with poor health conditions and death whether a person also exercises or not.
We’ve been told that a minimum of 30 minutes of activity at least 5 days a week will counteract many health issues. We’ve been told that even this small amount of exercise will lower our risk if developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity.
But, now researchers are saying that what we do when we’re not exercising may be much more important: The idea is that, even if you exercise for a short while each day, it won’t lower the negative risks of sitting all day. You still need to exercise, but you also need to stop sitting all day!
Studies have shown that sitting in office chairs, using computers, reading, talking on the phone, and watching TV have negative effects on our ability to burn fat and cholesterol.
Researchers think that sitting all day stimulates disease-promoting processes, and that exercising, even for an hour every day, will not reverse it.
Past studies show the benefits of standing: “Standing during the day not only burns double the number of calories as sitting, but also has some long-lasting healthy benefits for the body.”
According to Marc Hamilton, an associate professor of biomedical sciences, “The enzymes in blood vessels of muscles responsible for ‘fat burning’ are shut off within hours of not standing.”
Hamilton said. “Standing and moving lightly will re-engage the enzymes, but since people are awake 16 hours a day, it stands to reason that when people sit much of that time, they are losing the opportunity for optimal metabolism throughout the day.”
Going to the gym and getting active exercise are still very good for your health, but we are just now confirming that sitting all day is a much worse than we imagined.