02 Nov Is Sitting the New Diabetes?
Do you spend your days in Adelaide at work sitting in front of a computer screen – just to go home and sit in front of your television until it’s time to sleep? If so – you’re spending most of your life on your backside – and that habit leads to some pretty terrifying results. By sitting for long hours every day, you:
- Increase your risk of heart disease by 64%
- Improve your chances of getting cancer
- Shave seven years off your life
Simply put – you’re sitting yourself into an early grave.
Various studies have found that sedentary behaviour – including sitting for extended periods of time – increases our risk of developing plenty of serious chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and even non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. In other words, sitting is more dangerous than you ever realised, and the scary studies just keep coming. The more we sit, the more researchers discover that hours on our butts leads to:
Fortunately, if you’re worried about clocking out early because of a lazy lifestyle – there’s still time to make some changes. Simply understanding the threats that a sedentary lifestyle poses, and figuring out new ways to improve your relaxation techniques without spending your life wasting away in front of the television could make a drastic change.
The Threats of a Sedentary Lifestyle
Most of us have known since childhood that there’s nothing good about being a couch potato – but most of us don’t fully understand what the problem is. Perhaps the easiest way to look at the issue is to say that our bodies simply weren’t designed to be sitting all day long. Sitting for long periods of time, even with regular exercise can lead to serious problems with our health – and many people are sitting up to fifteen hours a day.
If we look at some of the statistics into sedentary behaviour uncovered by the Australian government, we quickly learn that the entire nation has a problem with the sitting bug. Overall, sedentary activity – such as sitting makes up around 39 hours in a week for adults. Of that time – most of our sitting experience is spent in front of the television – with TV taking up about thirteen hours of our week.
When we combine these frightening numbers – which seem to indicate that most of us spend more than half of our lives sitting, with research conducted by scientists across the world – we start to see the true threat that sedentary living represents. For instance, researchers recently came together to look at forty-seven different studies examining the connection that exists between mortality and sitting. According to the findings that were revealed by the Annals of Internal Medicine – people who sit for long periods were around 24% more likely to die from health problems during the studies.
Amongst the information gathered from the studies – which lasted for between one and sixteen years, the researchers also discovered that excess sitting was associated with a 18% higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease, as well as 17% increased chance of dying from cancer. What’s more, the individuals that sat for extended periods of time during those studies were linked to a 91% increased risk of ending up with type 2 diabetes, alongside an up to 14% greater chance of being diagnosed with heart problems or cancer.
During the examination of these research studies, the scientists evaluating the information also discovered that the people involved in the tests who exercised more frequently were more likely to face lower risks of those health conditions than those who didn’t exercise. However, it’s also worth noting that the exercise that the various individuals in the study performed did not directly counteract the risks associated with sitting for long periods of time. In fact, the researchers found that the people who exercised but also sat for long periods of time were only one third less likely to die during the studies than the people who didn’t exercise at all. This same information was found in ten out of the 47 studies.
Plenty of other research beside the studies mentioned above have worked to make the connection between health problems and increased periods of sitting. However, the analysis addressed by the 47 studies outlined above is one of the most thorough and largest studies available today – including information on around 830,000 people who ended up dying from various health problems, 550,000 people who developed heart problems, and 745,000 people who ended up with cancer.
What Does Too Much Sitting Do?
So, we’ve established with plenty of research that sitting is dangerous and can lead to a range of serious health problems – but we still don’t know why this happens. It’s difficult to maintain an accurate assessment of what sitting for extended periods of time really does to the human body, because the effects that a sedentary lifestyle have on your health are likely to work in conjunction with other risk factors and dietary problems.
Because of this, we can only offer a general idea into what sitting would do a relatively healthy person who doesn’t smoke, drink excessively, or suffer from obesity. For instance, immediately after a person sits down, the natural electrical impulses that are moving throughout your body will begin to slow down – causing your calorie burning rate to drop significantly. In fact, you’ll only be burning around one calorie every minute spent on your butt. That’s about a third of the calories you burn while you’re walking. If you continue to sit for a full 24-hour period, then you’ll also receive a 40% reduction in your insulin uptake – which might lead to diabetes (Type 2).
In times when you’re sitting for more than six hours per day – say for a period of around five days to a week, additional changes will begin happening to your body. For instance, you’ll find that your levels of plasma triglycerides start to rise, and your LDL cholesterol builds up too. This should mean that your muscles aren’t taking in the right amount of fat that they need to function, and your blood sugar levels start to rise – putting you at a higher risk of obesity. When a couple of weeks of sitting pass by, your muscles may start to atrophy, which means that your maximum level of oxygen consumption starts to drop – making walking and even climbing stairs harder than ever.
If you continue your excessive sitting habit for more than a year, then the problems continue to skyrocket. Although you might only experience a few minimal issues to begin with, you’ll quickly find that all of this little concerns quickly build up into something huge. For instance, studies have found that regular sitting for longer periods of time can lead to the experience of excess weight gain and high cholesterol. Other studies into women who spend a lot of time sitting at the office find that it’s possible to lose up to one percent of your bone mass per year.
As the months and years pass by, the problems with a sedentary lifestyle obviously grow worse. Sitting for more than six hours a day for over a decade can even cut about seven years of quality life out of your time on this earth. What’s more, this constant bad habit increases your risk of dying from heart disease by around 64%.
Fortunately, you only need to do a few things to counteract all those problems with frequent sitting, and those include standing up regularly – and getting around thirty minutes of exercise per day. An Australian study has found that short breaks from sitting every hour can alleviate most of the problems that we’ve just listed – and that doesn’t mean that you have to spend the whole day working out either. All you need to do is create pockets of activity that you turn to throughout the day to break up those sitting siestas.
At the same time – if you’re relying on your time spent in front of the television to help you relax after a long work day or a difficult couple of hours chasing the kids – then you might need to look for some new and improved relaxation techniques.
How to Relax Without Sitting In Front of the TV
We all love television for a range of different reasons. From exciting programs that keep us glued to our screens, to the less-interesting stuff that gives us an opportunity to turn our brains off and unwind for an hour or two. Unfortunately, since the majority of us spend most of our dangerous sedentary time in front of the television, it may be about time that we start looking for new ways to spend our free time.
While there’s nothing wrong with watching television now and again – becoming addicted to the box is not a very healthy way to live your life. What’s more – it’s probably not going to help you manage stress and achieve a better night’s sleep like some of the alternative solutions we’re going to suggest here.
- Read Something
The joy of reading has largely been forgotten in the modern age – except for those articles that you skim through online. Instead of relying on your television to keep you entertained, expand your memory and your vocabulary by reading a book or a newspaper – the choice is yours. Just make sure that if you’re going to read something before bedtime – you don’t use a phone or tablet. Remember that these devices use blue light that can keep you awake for longer, and mean that you struggle to get the restful night of rest you need.
- Try Some Mindful Meditation
Regarded as a fantastic way to appreciate the moment that we’re living in at any given moment, mindful meditation focuses on getting you to recognise the feelings that are associated with whatever you’re doing, seeing, or experiencing in a period of three to five seconds at a time. This could mean slowly eating one of your favourite healthy snacks and enjoying everything from the temperature of the food to the flavours of the spices – or simply concentrating on your breathing pattern for deeper, healthier breaths.
- Enjoy some Company
Human beings are naturally social creatures – that’s why we get so much pleasure out of spending time with our friends, family, and loved ones. If you’re bored and stressed, but you don’t want to spend too long sitting in front of the television to help you wind down after a day at work – arrange a meeting with your friends, or ask your family members if you can go for a late-night visit. Most of the time they’ll be happy to have you, and you can even catch up on some much-needed social interaction and communication – rather than relying on the TV to give you all the friendship you need.
- Get a Massage
Massage is an incredible way to relax. Whether you’re getting a professional massage to help you rid the tension from your tired muscles, a remedial or sports massage to promote healing, or a simple relaxation massage – you’ll find yourself in a state of bliss in no time. While you might not be able to get a professional to work the knots out of your muscles every day, you can always enjoy some self-massage techniques in between professional settings, or get your partner to help you.
Whatever method you choose for relaxation, it’s fair to say that we all need to focus on sitting less, and enjoying life more.
And if you’re looking for the best massage in
Adelaide…I think I know where to send you 😉