Most people spend 8 hours sleeping, 8 hours sitting at work and then come home to plop down in front of the TV or computer for another few hours of sitting. That's a solid 18 to 20 hours of sitting each day. Add in the time that we spend sitting while in vehicles or on public transit and it is easy to see why it is hardly ever necessary to stand. While sitting is awfully convenient and comfortable, it does have a down side. Sitting for extended periods of time is extremely unhealthy. Let's take a closer look at the study and how to feel better.
How to Feel Better: Try to sit for 6 Hours or Less
Academicians from Kansas State and Australia studied over 63,000 men from Australia's New South Wales between the ages of 45 and 65. These participants were questioned as to whether they suffered from a number of different chronic diseases. Each participant also revealed the number of hours that he spends sitting down every day. The results of the study indicate that men who report sitting for 6 hours or more per day were at a markedly higher risk for diabetes. Those who reported sitting for 4 hours or less per day were significantly less likely to suffer a chronic health condition such as:
High blood pressure
The researchers also found out that these men who sat for excessive periods of time were much more susceptible to other chronic diseases. Many think that the negative effects of sitting are the result of a lack of muscular contractions. Those who sit for extended periods of time fail to contract their muscles in an isometric manner, resulting in an array of health problems.
How to Feel Better: Avoid a Sedentary Lifestyle
If you work at job where you are sedentary for most of the day, you likely do not feel very energetic and refreshed throughout your workday. From truck drivers to administrators, the vast majority of human beings sit while working. Sitting for hours on end is not only bad for the mind as well as the body. Today's chairs are quite convenient and seemingly comfortable yet their design forces our bodies into unnatural positions.
If you find that you sit for hours on end without standing, it is time to change your behavior to figure out how to feel better throughout the day. The next time you are at work, and you are wondering how to feel better, start a timer or write down when you first sit down and then mark the time when you stand up. Take micro-breaks throughout the day where you stand, stretch and walk. Those who are physically active suffer fewer chronic diseases than those who are sedentary throughout the day. Yet the results of the study mentioned above indicate that not sitting is even more important than physical activity. The mere act of standing can help prevent numerous health problems including:
Poor blood flow
Exercise Does not Offset Excessive Sitting
One of the more interesting twists to this study and the topic of excessive sitting and how to feel better is the consideration of one's activity levels. Even after the researchers took the participants' physical activity into consideration, those who sat for excessive periods of time still suffered chronic diseases at a markedly higher rate.
The researchers also tested whether one's age, education, income, weight or height made a difference. None of these variables made a significant difference. The researchers found that these variables all pale in comparison to the number of hours spent sitting. The group of men who sat for 8 hours or more per day were at the highest risk for chronic diseases, regardless of their physical activity when not sitting and other variables. However, it is worth noting that the study's authors are not sure if those who suffer from chronic diseases tend to sit for extended periods of time or if the excessive sitting is partially or directly responsible for the chronic diseases.
How to Feel Better: Stand Up!
It is clear that you can feel better if you reduce the amount of time that you spend sitting. The more that we study human beings and their activity levels, the more sure we become that physically active people who regularly stand suffer few chronic disease. So go ahead and get up and walk around in between work assignments. Take a short walk and stretch multiple times throughout the day to refresh your body as well as your mind. You will feel better in the short term and your reduced sitting just might prevent a chronic disease in the future. If you are interested in learning how to feel better, take our health test located here.