Excessive sitting is harmful to health
If you have a job that keeps you sitting at a desk all day, you may want to get up and move around. Excessive sitting is bad for your health. In fact, it has been linked to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, poor circulation and an increased risk of blood clots, to name a few.
“If you sit for very long period of time, it can have a long-term cumulative effect on your heart, but even in the short-term, by not getting up frequently for about 10 minutes an hour, you increase your risk of circulation issues, cognitive problems and even dementia,” said Dr. Michael Steinberg, associate professor of medicine at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
Even if you exercise rigorously three to four times a week, sitting all day is dangerous. “If you look at the number of hours in a week, the time spent at the gym still represents a small percentage of the time that we may be sitting or sedentary,” Steinberg said.
It’s important to make activity a part of your regular routine, but people need to be mindful that regular exercise doesn’t reduce the harmful effects of excessive sitting.
“This is not a one or the other. It’s good to follow guidelines and to work out with good cardiovascular activity several times a week,” Steinberg said. “But, in addition to that, to not go long periods of time where you’re sitting for hours on end, not getting up and not walking around. Even if you’re in great shape, those things can be detrimental to your health.”
If you are at your desk at work, Steinberg recommends getting up and walking around once an hour for about 10 minutes. If you are home, get off the couch and walk around, and make housework more active as well. He said anything people can add to their daily routine that involves being active, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, can have a positive impact on health.
“Physical activity is an investment in your future well-being. It is like saving for retirement. It’s not always fun, but in the long run, it really does pay off,” Steinberg said.