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The Health Dangers of Taking a Seat
Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Are you sitting down? If you’re the average American then chances are good that you’ve been sitting nearly all day. Unfortunately the habit of sitting may be doing a lot more damage to our health as a nation than we realize when we take a seat.

The average amount of time an American adult spends sitting during the day is eight hours. Getting up regularly and standing for longer periods of time can help you avoid some pretty serious health ailments brought on by simply being sedentary.

Greater risk of heart disease
Muscles relax and blood flows more slowly when we sit for long periods, which means fatty acids—including the kinds that clog arteries and contribute to heart disease—can wreck more havoc on your organs. People who sit for prolonged periods are more likely to have high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels and are twice as likely to have cardiovascular disease than their more active counterparts.

Greater risk of disability
Too much time spent on our backsides is particularly tough on anyone 60 and older. For this age group, every additional hour spent sitting is linked to twice as much risk of becoming disabled, according to a new study from Northwestern Medicine. In this study, disability is defined as any state that limits a person’s ability to accomplish common daily activities such as eating, dressing or bathing oneself, getting in and out of bed and walking across a room. 

Greater risk of death
Possibly worst of all, prolonged sitting increases your risk of death by any means by a staggering 40 percent, according to one study. Adults who sit for 11 hours or more each day run this unfortunate risk, regardless of any other activity they pursue during the day, including vigorous workouts.

But is simply standing the answer? Not exactly. While most researchers recommend a 50/50 split for time spent sitting and time spent standing, they also stress that simply standing more isn’t the answer. Movement is still an important factor in maintaining your health. Consistent weekly episodes of exercise (at least 30 minutes of brisk walking five times a week or 25 minutes of vigorous exercise three times a week), combined with a balanced sit-stand ratio is your best bet for good health. 

Here are some simple ways to work standing more often into your day:
·      Organize your workspace to allow about half of your day to be spent standing rather than sitting
·      Set an alarm to remind you to get up and do a quick walking lap around the office or house every 30 minutes
·      Stand and stretch a couple times each hour
·      Take your meetings to-go — rather than gather at a boardroom table, walk while you brainstorm and problem solve
·      Stand while you talk on the phone
·      Watch your favorite show while you’re on the treadmill instead of on the couch

Talk to our skilled providers about other ways you can actively take your health into your own hands for a longer, healthier life. At Doctors' Urgent Care, we’re always here to help you feel your best. Come in for a consultation anytime and we’ll help you discover ways to safeguard your health, recover from injuries and alleviate chronic ailments. 


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