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90 minutes and metablism shuts down
Home >> Health Risks >> Top 10 Risks

Top 10 Risks

In recent years a variety of major international research (see below) has produced compelling evidence that sitting more than 4 hours each day leads to:

  • The enzymes responsible for burning fat shutting down
  • Reduced metabolic rate
  • Stopping of the electricity flow in the legs
The result leads to increased risks of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer (amongst other things.) A variety of studies have warned that sedentary lifestyles are likely to be causing as many deaths as smoking.

Below you will find the Top10 risks. These risks grow significantly for people who sit longer than 4 hours each day:

"Click to Expand"
[Note] All research references are indexed and can be found in the Research links section.
1. Heart / Cardiovascular disease
Heart Disease: Muscles burn less fat and blood flows more sluggishly during a long sit, allowing fatty assets to more easily clog the heart. Prolonged sitting has been linked to high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol and people who sit >8 hours per day are more than twice more likely to have cardiovascular disease than those sitting less than 4 hours. Irrespective of how physically active a person is.
Scientific evidence that sitting is bad for the cardiovascular system goes all the way back to the 1950s, when British researchers compared rates of heart disease in London bus drivers (who sit) and bus conductors (who stand) and found that the former group experienced almost twice the number of heart attacks and additional other problems than the latter.

Source references: [1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9]
2. Diabetes
Over-productive pancreas our pancreas produces insulin a hormone that carries glucose to cells for energy. Cells in idle muscles don't respond as readily to insulin, so the pancreas produces more and more which can lead to diabetes other diseases. A 2011 study found a declined insulin response after just ONE day of prolonged sitting. [10]

A 2008 study found that people who sat for longer periods during their day had significantly higher levels of fasting blood glucose, indicating their cells became less responsive to insulin, with the hormone failing to trigger the absorption of glucose from the blood. A 2013 study came to similar findings, and arrived at the conclusion that for people already at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, the amount of time spent sitting could be a more important risk factor than the amount of time spent vigorously exercising.

Diabetes source references: [10][11]
Metabolic Syndrome source references: [12][13][14]
3. Cancer
Cancer: Breast and colon cancer appear to be most influenced by physical activity (or lack thereof): a 2011 study [17] found that prolonged sitting could be responsible for as much as 49,000 cases of breast cancer and 43,000 (1,800 cases) could also be related to excessive sitting.

A 2010 study by the American Cancer Society [15] found that women who sat more than six hours a day were 37% more likely to die prematurely than women who sat for less than three hours, while the early-death rate for men was 18% higher.

The underlying mechanism by which sitting increases cancer risk is still unclear, but scientists have found a number of biomarkers, such as C-reactive protein, that are present in higher levels in people who sit for long periods of time. These may be tied to the development of cancer. Another is that regular movement boosts natural antioxidants that kill self-damaging and potentially cancer-causing free radicals.[18]

Source references: [15][16][17][18]
4. Obesity
Obesity: the evidence linking physical activity patterns with obesity is increasing rapidly and reflects the growing importance of physical activity as a key health issue.[25]

After 90 minutes of sitting your metabolism shuts down and the body's cells become less responsive to insulin and muscles release lower levels of the enzyme which burn cholesterol (lipoprotein lipase).[23][24]

A 2013 British study [5] showed that using a standing desk caused the heart to beat an average of 10 beats faster per minute than when sitting. This equates to an additional 50 calories an hour burnt. A 2012 study comparing young adults using sitting and standing desks found that standing desk users burned 20.4 additional calories per hour.[27] Given an average of 3 hours of standing per day, 5 days per week, this would equate to burning an extra 306 to 750 calories per week; 16,000 to 30,000 per year.

Source references: [22][23][24][25][26][27][28]
5. High blood pressure
"Blood pressure" is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. If this pressure rises and stays high over time, it can damage the body in many ways.

A report by the UK government’s Chief Medical Officer warns there is mounting evidence that you can hit the recommended levels of exercise but still put your health at risk by spending the rest of the time sitting down.[19]

Source references: [19][20][21]
6. Muscle degeneration
Muscle degeneration: when you stand you use your abdominal muscles to keep you upright. However, excessive sitting leads to tight back muscles and soft abdominals which lead to bad posture which can exaggerate the spine’s natural arch (a condition called hyper lordosis or swayback).[22]

7. Back ache / Neck pain
Bad back / Inflexible spine: spines that don't move become inflexible and susceptible to damage in mundane activities. When we move around soft discs between the vertebrae expand & contract like sponges soaking up fresh blood and nutrients. When we sit for a long time disks are squashed unevenly and lose sponginess. Collagen hardens around supporting tendons and ligaments.[9]

Strained neck: if most of your sitting occurs at a desk at work craning your neck toward a keyboard or tilting your head to cradle a phone while typing can strain the cervical vertebrae and lead to permanent imbalances.

8. Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis: weight bearing activities such as standing, walking and running stimulate hip and lower body bones to grow thicker denser and stronger. Scientists partly attribute the recent surge in cases of osteoporosis to lack of activity.[9]

9. Depression*
Lethargy: moving muscles pump fresh blood and oxygen through the brain and trigger the release of all sorts of brain and the enhancing chemicals. When we are sedentary for long periods everything slows including brain function.

A recent American study concluded that some, but not all sedentary behaviours, are linked to adverse mental health [30].

Note: (*) direct relationship is less definitive, but there is evidence to suggest indirect association.
10. Dementia*
Dementia: when we are sedentary for long periods everything slows including brain function. [30] Whilst research on the link of physical inactivity to dementia is still at the early stage, evidence is growing.

Note: (*) direct relationship is less definitive, but there is evidence to suggest indirect association.



Click here for further details on research report and study links and downloads.

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