Sitting Too Much May Be Killing You Slowly

| September 13, 2012

Research has shown that women who sit for long periods of time every day are more likely to develop a life-threatening blood clot in their lungs than more active women. The study published on the British Medical Journal website, says observational studies have suggested that prolonged bouts of sitting and lack of whole-body muscular movement are strongly associated with obesity, abnormal glucose metabolism, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk and cancer, as well as total mortality independent of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity. The new study is also the first to prove that a sedentary lifestyle increases your risk of developing a pulmonary embolism, a common cause of heart disease.

Pulmonary embolism develops when part of the blood clot travels through the bloodstream from the deep veins in the leg and up into the lungs. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, chest pain and coughing.

Ways to Keep Moving Even If Your Job Requires Sitting for Long Periods of Time

How much time do you spend each day sitting down? Many of us spend an average of 15 and a half hours sitting down every day. We sit behind a desk in front of a computer during working hours then go home and sit on the couch in front of the television or behind another desk surfing the internet. The rising conveniences of life do not help either – sitting in the drive-thru to pick up lunch, dinner, prescription drugs and money at the bank. To avoid sitting for long periods of time, practice the following:

  • Time yourself to get up and walk away from your desk every hour – whether to use the bathroom, visit a co-worker,  or walk the halls, the important thing is to get up and move around.
  • Take the stairs instead of using the elevator when moving between floors.
  • Use the longest possible walking route to get from point A to point B.
  • Take walking breaks during TV commercial breaks. Walk around the house or apartment instead of flipping through the channels.
  • Walk up to the ATM instead of using the drive-thru. Walk inside the restaurant to pick up lunch even if it means standing in line. This is good for your health.
  • During the beautiful spring, summer and fall days, take a walk out to the park or around the block instead of eating lunch at your desk.
  • If you work from home behind a computer, make it a habit of taking long walks to help clear your head and reboot your circulation.
  • Avoid sitting for long periods of time in tight cloths – especially around the waist.

If for nothing at all, than to live a long and healthier life, and to protect your back and lungs from unnecessary damage, do it because it feels good in the moment. Breaks help you unwind and relax. Start standing and walking today!

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  1. Afua says:

    Good to know. Does that include laying down too? Just wondering.

    • N. Amma Twum-Baah, Editor Editor says:

      Hello Afua,

      Thanks for your comment. I’m not sure what the answer to your question is but I can find out and let you know. Thanks.