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Sitting can be a nice break from a busy day. But considering many of us spend our entire
workday at a desk, followed by downtime in front of a computer or TV, one has to wonder:
how exactly is sitting affecting your body?
The answer is pretty shocking. As soon as you sit down the electrical activity in your
muscles drops significantly and your calorie-burning rate plummets to about 1 calorie per minute.
After only 3 hours of sitting, there is a 50% drop in artery dilation, and as a result
a decrease in blood flow. Sit for 24 hours straight, and the insulin in your body loses
nearly 40% of its ability to uptake glucose, which increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
And things only get worse from here.
After 2 weeks of sitting for more than 6 hours a day, LDL cholesterol, sometimes called the
‘bad’ cholesterol, is increased, along with other fatty molecules putting you at
a greater risk for weight gain. On top of this, the enzymes responsible for breaking
down fats plunge. And because of the prolonged inactivity, your muscles begin to break down.
Gradually, their contractions become weaker, ultimately impeding the pumping of blood to
the heart. Even if you work out regularly, the minute you stop moving, the deterioration
begins again, in proportion to your sitting time. And that’s the scary part; research
shows that just as exercise doesn’t necessarily counteract the negative effects of something
like smoking, it doesn’t counteract the negative effects of too much sitting.
A year later, the effects begin to compound, and some studies in women have even shown
a decrease in bone mass upwards of 1% every year. Think your brain is more important than
your body? Physical movement not only helps pump blood and oxygen to the brain but also
sends mood enhancing hormones. When we don’t move, brain function begins to slow down.
Perhaps most shockingly is that after 10-20 years of sitting for 6 hours a day, you may
have lost up to 7 quality-adjusted life years - that is, years without medical issues or
death. For example, the risk of dying from heart disease increases by 64% while the risk
of prostate or breast cancer increases by 30%. If everybody sat for no more than 3 hours
a day, it’s estimated that the average lifespan would rise by 2 years.
Simply put, our bodies aren’t designed to be sedentary. And sitting for 8 hours a day
at work is just as bad for those who go home and watch TV as it is for those who hit up
the gym. It can literally be a lethal activity.
So what’s the best solution? We put together a list of the top tips to fight the sitting
epidemic, no matter how lazy you are, using scientific research and clever tricks to make
it easy. There is a link in the description to that video, which you should definitely
Special thanks to Audible.com for supporting this episode and giving you a free audio book
of your choice at audible.com/asap. Audible is the leading provider of audiobooks with
over 150,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature. We recommend the book
“The Selfish Gene” by Richard Dawkins, which contains some amazing insights into
evolution and the biological world. You can download this audio book or another of your
choice, for free, at audible.com/asap. And with a subscription you get one free book
a month! Special thanks Audible for making these videos possible!
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Are You Sitting Too Much?

17376 Folder Collection
Ashley Chen published on January 4, 2015
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