Just Three Hours of Sitting Can Damage Your Blood Vessels

With increasing numbers of us doing 'sitting' jobs like office work and with obesity on the rise, the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle are very real, and recent research has shown that it's not only us, but our children who are being affected.

Children spend more than 60 percent of their waking day sedentary, 1 and by some estimates children sit an average of 8.5 hours a day.

Researchers studied a small group of girls (aged 7 to 10 years) to determine if sitting is as detrimental to their health as it is to adults.

At the start of the study, all of the girls had healthy arterial function, but after sitting for three hours, playing on tablets or watching movies, researchers found a "profound" reduction in vascular function.

Arterial dilation fell by up to 33 percent in the girls, which is scary as a 1 percent decline in vascular function is known to increase heart disease risk by 13 percent in adults.

The silver lining to the study was that the researchers found that girls' artery function returned to normal after a few days, and when the sitting time was interrupted by a gentle 10-minute cycling session, no decline in vascular function was recorded.

Study author Dr. Ali McManus, an associate professor of Pediatric Exercise Physiology at the University of British Columbia in Kelowna, told The New York Times:

    "It seems clear from our results that children should not sit for prolonged, uninterrupted periods of time."

Alan Hedge, professor of Ergonomics at Cornell University, who was not involved in the study, said to CNN:

 "This research suggests that children are not that different from adults in terms of fundamental physiology of the body… It confirms that sitting compresses blood vessels in young people just as much as it does in adults [and] just as much as it does in elderly."

An average US adult spends 9 to 10 hours each day sitting, which is more activity than a 30- or 60-minute workout can counteract. As this much sitting has become the norm in recent years, it might seem normal - but it isn't. Our bodies are meant to move around, and in the past when agriculture was the main form of work, humans would only sit for arouns 3 hours a day.

Health problems that can occur from too much sitting include: 

• Heart: Research published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology showed that women who sit for 10 or more hours a day may have a significantly greater risk of developing heart disease than those who sit for five hours or less.12

• Pancreas: Your body's ability to respond to insulin responds after just one day of excess sitting, which leads your pancreas to produce increased amounts, which could lead to diabetes. A study published in Diabetologia found that those who sat for the longest periods of time were twice as likely to have diabetes or heart disease, compared to those who sat for less. Sitting for more than eight hours a day has also been associated with a 90 percent increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

• Cancers: Findings discussed at the 2015 Inaugural Active Working Summit showed that sitting increases:

    Lung cancer by 54 percent
    Uterine cancer by 66 percent
    Colon cancer by 30 percent

Another reason for this increased cancer risk is thought to be linked to weight gain and associated biochemical changes, such as alterations in hormones, metabolic dysfunction, leptin dysfunction, and inflammation — all of which promote cancer.

• Digestion: If you sit down for long periods after you eat it can cause your abdominal contents to compress, slowing digestion. Slow digestion, can lead to cramping, bloating, heartburn, and constipation, as well as dysbiosis in your gastrointestinal tract, a condition caused by microbial imbalances in your body. Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease says:

"There is growing evidence that dysbiosis of the gut microbiota is associated with the pathogenesis of both intestinal and extra-intestinal disorders. Intestinal disorders include inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and celiac disease, while extra-intestinal disorders include allergy, asthma, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and obesity."

• Strained Neck and Shoulders: Sitting at a desk can lead to all kinds of posture problems, as we are crane our necks while typing, or craning your neck whilst on the phone. 

• Varicose Veins: Sitting can lead to bad circulation in your legs, which can cause swelling in your ankles, varicose veins, and blood clots known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Weak Bones: Lack of activity can lead to the bones becoming weaker and may lead to osteoperosis.

Any way to increase your general movement is seen as beneficial to your general health. Moving around more, and fidgeting while at your desk can really contribute to fighting the flab. 

'Standing desks' are a good way to keep moving while at work. Dr. James Levine, author of the book  Get Up!: Why Your Chair Is Killing You and What You Can Do About It says:

    "When somebody gets a standing desk, they generally stand for several hours a day. But they don't stand still. A couple of things happen. The first thing that happens is, they generally move from leg to leg and generally change their body posture quite a lot. That weight-bearing and adjustment of weight-bearing has a whole series of physiological benefits to the musculature, the balance in musculature, the visual cortex, the testicular system, and so on." 

Aim to set a goal of 7,000 to 10,000 steps a day. If you work in an office, take time every hour to get up and walk around, even just two minutes of walking has been shown to improve hearth function.

With ipads, tablets and video games it is hard to motivate your children to get outside and start exercising, but it important to set them off on a healthy way of living as early on as possible. Don't just tell them to exercise, as it probably won;t work, get up wot them and go for a brisk walk, or find a sporting activity you can do together. Leading by example is important in getting your child to realise the importance, and what great benefits you get from moving more.

Just Three Hours of Sitting Can Damage Your Blood Vessels Just Three Hours of Sitting Can Damage Your Blood Vessels Reviewed by World Health Info on November 14, 2016 Rating: 5
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