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Prolonged Sitting A Health Risk

You probably already know that smoking cigarettes or breathing secondhand smoke, long-term exposure to the sun, abuse of alcohol, drugs, or medications, and a poor diet or over-eating are bad for your health. Now you can add prolonged sitting to that list of behaviors that significantly increases your risk of major disease.
Scientists researching some of the most common and deadly diseases in our society, such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, have discovered that sitting has profoundly negative effects on fat and cholesterol metabolism. Fat in the bloodstream is normally broken down by the enzyme lipase and then absorbed into the muscles as fuel reserves.

The circulation of lipase, the fat-absorbing enzyme, is shut down by the inactivity of prolonged sitting, leaving fat in the blood stream to re-circulate and become stored as body fat or to clog arteries. It is no wonder that numerous studies have shown that people who sit a lot have two and three times the rates of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

Here's the kicker. If you workout nearly every day for half an hour or so-like you are supposed to-but you are mostly sedentary the rest of your waking hours each day, the half-hourly exercise sessions are not sufficient to overcome the negative effects that multiple hours of prolonged physical inactivity has on your fat and cholesterol metabolism. One of the scientists performing this research, Marc Hamilton, Ph.D., a professor of biomedical sciences at the University of Missouri in Columbia, referred to chair time as an "insidious hazard."

Indeed, chair time is hazardous for most people on two counts:

1) when seated with improper posture the spine is bent out of its normal shape, which strains the discs, muscles, and joints -often causing back pain and spinal degeneration

2) when seated for too long the body's system are idle including circulation, respiration, and digestion -often complicating systemic health problems.


What to do?

Sit up and Get up! The act of sitting up with correct posture in a supportive chair maintains the normal shape of the spine and minimizes strain. The act of standing upright engages muscles and stimulates the action of lipase to breakdown fat in the bloodstream, and standing compared to sitting also burns more calories.

It also stands to reason (pun intended) that moving about purposefully in your chair from time to time, as found in portions of the 60 Second Workout or the Sit-Disc Mobilization as described in The Science of Sitting Made Simple book, will also engage muscles and trigger the action of lipase in the body to metabolize fat.

Whatever you do, don't just sit there!

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