Sit At Your Own Risk
Complete Wellbeing|February 2016

Prolonged sitting is linked to many serious health concerns including diabetes and heart disease.

Kiran Shete

Have you ever counted the number of hours you sit in a day? You would be surprised to know that an adult spends on an average 9.7 hours/day si ing and the number can go up to 15 for office workers. This trend of sedentary lifestyle in the digital age has become a global threat and may add to an already increased burden of non-communicable diseases. Research now suggests that si ing for too long is bad for your health, regardless of how much you exercise.

In 2010, the American Cancer Society released a report in the American Journal of Epidemiology stating that men who sat for six hours or more a day in their leisure time had an overall death rate that was nearly 20 per cent higher than men who sat for three hours or less in the 14-year follow-up period. And women who sat for more than six hours a day had a death rate that was almost 40 per cent higher. Similar results were published in Archives of Internal Medicine stating that people who sit for long periods are at more risk of dying early.

That’s why many wellness oriented companies now have standing desks for employees—i.e. employees do not sit for working on desktop but they are provided with special desks which allow to them carry out their work while standing. Many people alternate between standing and sitting. There is also a trend of using a treadmill desk—wherein you walk while you work!

What are the harmful effects of sitting?

A. When we sit for a long duration, our leg muscles become slack and don’t contract effectively to pump blood to the heart. This leads to pooling of blood in the legs which, in turn, reduces the ability of the blood vessels to expand. Problems range from swollen ankles and varicose veins to dangerous blood clots called deep vein thrombosis [DVT].

B. This sluggish blood flow also leads to deposition of fat in blood vessels, clogging them which further limits the oxygen and nutrient supply to the brain slowing down the brain function.

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