You may have it and not even know! The new STD is insidious and is antagonistic against millions of years of human evolution. Research shows that the total mortality associated with this condition affects both men and women, even when adjusting for poor healthy lifestyle choices such as smoking, and BMI and other factors. The correlation between this condition and diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease is astounding.
What is this new STD? It’s Sitting to [Death] Disease … perhaps not what you imagined, but sitting too much is a deadly issue just the same.
Sitting to Death Disease is a term coined by Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Bonnie Roill, owner of Scottsdale based B3 Nutrition, in her 2012 eBook “10 Real Reasons women gain weight … How to stop weight gain in it’s tracks.”
Bonnie reminds us that our bodies evolved to move which is how we progressed to walking on our two legs. The body’s response to prolonged sitting can be explained using an analogy to our beloved computer. Whenever we stop typing on the keyboard or moving our mouse our computer generally goes into “sleep mode” when programmed to conserve energy. Our bodies work similarly the same way; sit too long and your body shuts down … metabolically speaking.
Obviously, sitting doesn’t burn energy (calories) like standing or walking does, and the metabolic shut down affects key flab burning enzymes responsible for breaking down fat, that the body uses for energy. This in part results when the enzyme lipoprotein lipase stop breaking down low density lipoproteins (LDL) for muscle energy. Ready for this statistic – according to some experts, sit for a full day and those fat burners can plummet by 50 percent!
In a report by the BBC, researchers found that standing burned about 50 calories per hour more (approximately 100 calories total/hour) than when sitting. Standing just 3 hours more per day 5 days/week adds up to 39,000 calories annually … that is about 12 pounds of body weight.
A 180 pound 5′ 10″, 35 year old male burns approximately 115 calories/hour standing according to Fit Day. A 150 pound, 5′ 7″ 35 year old female burns about 91 calories/hour standing. The same individuals sitting burn 62 and 49 calories/hour respectively. Check out the links below to see how many calories you burn sitting and standing.
Whether at work tethered to a desk, sitting at lunch, on a break or at meetings, sitting in front of a computer playing video games, falling asleep at the computer at home, sitting on the couch or in a recliner watching TV, commuting or just “sitting around”, it is all cumulative.
The findings of a study conducted by the Institute for Medicine and Public Health of nearly 6300 people indicate, on average, Americans spend 56 hours per week sitting.
One study showed that approximately one year after acquiring a job that requires 6 or more hours of being tethered to a desk, the average employee gained 17 pounds! The resulting weight gain alone can lead to becoming overweight and obesity … both health risk factors.
Bonnie also points out “If this hasn’t scared you off your seat yet, think about this … spending all day on your rear shortens and tightens hip flexors and hamstrings while the muscles of your spine become weak and stiff. This is a perfect storm for chronic low-back pain which has seen an increase in women, more than threefold since the early 1990s.”
According to researcher Genevieve Healy, even if we exercise what we shouldn’t do is sit for long stretches of time. In a study at the University of Queensland in Australia researchers tracked more than 123,000 adults for 14 years, and found that even the people who performed the most exercise who sat for at least six hours a day had a higher risk of premature death as compared than those who sat for less than three hours.
Healy explains; “The large postural muscles of your legs and back are not contracting while you’re sitting” and fewer muscle contractions results in the pancreas secreting less insulin. Fats and sugars take longer to get cleared out of the blood and “so they’re more likely to be stored as body fat or to clog arteries.” She advises: “Do your exercise, but also think of your activity across the day. Stand up, sit less, move more, and more often…at least every 30 minutes.”
If that doesn’t make you “blue”, this might … more sitting equals less movement and less movement results in reduced blood flow and with it, a drop in serotonin, our “feel good” hormone.
British researchers have applied the term “mechanical stretching loads” to refer to what happens to our “bottoms” when we accept our desk jockey position. According to research conducted at Tel Aviv University, sitting around for long periods of time put pressure on the preadipocyte cells, causing the body to produce 50% more fat than usual. Excess fat is associated with increased risk of disease.
Archives of Internal Medicine, reported findings that people who sat for 11 hours a day or more were 40 percent more likely to die – from any cause. Additional findings … when comparing to those who sit less than four hours a day, the odds of dying were 15 percent higher for those who sit between eight to 11 hours a day.
CBS.com(CBS) reported on a conference of the American Institute for Cancer Research where it was announced a lack of physical activity and too much time sitting leads up to 43,000 cases of colon cancer and 49,000 cases of breast cancer annually.
TEN STEPS you can take to avoid the New STD.
- Take time to walk down or across the hall to speak with a co-worker instead of texting, instant messaging or calling.
- Engaging in any physical activity that requires less sitting.
- Never take the elevator when you can take the stairs. Walk greater distances by parking father away from your destination.
- Set an alarm or a timer to remind you to stand up every 20-30 minutes.
- Talk to someone standing up whenever possible.
- Even in standing in place and doing a few knee bends or boosting yourself up out of your seat and back down again will re-engage the fat burning enzymes.
- Plan to stand … when talking on the phone whenever possible.
- Store you food, snacks and extra beverage as far away as you can from your work area or desk.
- When meeting someone, try a walking meeting inside or the building.
- Wear a pedometer an accelerometer and set a daily goal of steps to achieve.
This information is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical/nutritional/fitness advice. Information presented is subject to change as additional discoveries are made or additional research is published.
Click here to find how many calories you burn sitting.
Click here to find how many calories you burn standing.
Click here for B3 Nutrition
Sources: Aspire2wellness.com, http://www.bbc.com/news/, http://www.fitday.com/, https://www.uq.edu.au, Am. J. Epidemiol. 172: 419, 2010; Diabetes Care 35: 976, 2012., http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/172/4/419.abstract, http://en.wikipedia.org/, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/too-much-sitting-behind-92000-cancer-cases-a-year-report/, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/sitting-too-much-may-double-your-risk-of-dying-study-shows/