Sit less to improve your health

If you really want to improve your health in 2015, resolve not to sit so much. Research has found that sitting effectively undoes all the good work you do by eating healthily and exercising regularly.

Below is a short animated ASAPscience video by two cool Canadians, Mitch and Greg, on how and why sitting is such a clear and present danger. After watching the video, scroll down for nine top tips on how to reduce the negative effects of too much sitting.

Why sitting is dangerous

This is the edited transcript from the video above:

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Sitting can be a nice break from a busy day, but considering that many of us spend our entire work day at a desk followed by down time in front of a computer or TV, one has to wonder how exactly sitting is 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 one calorie a minute. After only three hours of sitting, there is 50% drop of artery dilation and as a result a decrease in blood flow.

Sit for 24 hours straight and insulin in your body loses nearly 40% of its ability to uptake glucose, which increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes

Things only get worse from here.

After two weeks of sitting for more than six hours a day, LDL cholesterol, sometimes called 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 and the contractions become weaker, ultimately impeding the pumping of blood to your 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 one percent every year.

Think your brain is more important than your body? Physical movement not only helps to pump blood and oxygen to your brain but also sends mood enhancing hormones. When we don’t move, brain function begins to slow down

Perhaps the most shocking is that after 10 to 20 years of sitting for six hours a day you may have lost up to seven quality adjusted life years, that is, years without medical issues or death. For example, 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 three hours a day, it is estimated that the average life span would rise by two years.

Simply put, our bodies aren’t designed to be sedentary and sitting for eight hours a day at work is just as bad for those who go home and watch TV, as for those who head up the gym.

It can literally be a lethal activity. 

So what’s the best solution?

Read on to find out…