Is Sitting Good for Your Health?

Inactivity (like sitting) has a profound effect on our bodies. Sitting increases disc pressure by as much as 50% and reduces cardiac output.  It also affects our bodies at the cellular level, changing the production of certain proteins that contribute to our overall wellness. 

Believe it or not, the simple act of getting up and moving around plays a huge role in our overall wellness.  Research done by Marc T. Hamilton, Deborah Hamilton, and Theodore Zderic at the University of Missouri-Columbia, show our bodies are changing because of a decrease in movement throughout the day.  This non-exercise activity (moving around an office) is being greatly reduced in our daily routines because of technology and jobs that involve sitting for an extended period of time.  Our risk of obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, and cardiovascular disease appears to be on the rise because of our sedentary work habits. 

For example, the researchers compared energy expenditure and found brisk walking 5 days/week or running 35 miles/week produced less energy expenditure and fewer muscle contractions than high non-exercise activity, like standing and walking throughout the day.  Structured exercise does contribute to our overall wellness however non exercise activities like walking, standing and moving during daily activities collectively, contribute more to our overall wellness.  The energy expenditure :

  • "Standing workers”: 1400 kcal/day
  • Shop assistants or homemakers:  2300kcal/day
  • Seated workers with limited movement : 700kcal/day. 

So, what can you do?  Get out of that chair and take stretch break.  Take a walk. Move the printer further from your desk. Consider standing for a portion of the workday.  Walk or bike to work.  Leave your office for lunch and take a walk after you eat.  Do not sit down when you go home.  Take a walk, stay upright against gravity, and increase your non-exercise activity. 

According to public health studies, we are awake on average of 16 hours per day.  How much of that day do you spend sitting?  Decrease your hours in the chair and stay vertical.  It is okay to sit and lay down, but save it for after a good day of being upright!