It’s difficult to imagine that something as benign as sitting can cause disease. But that is exactly what numerous research studies have found.
A report from the Mayo Clinic states:
“Research has linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns, including obesity and metabolic syndrome – a cluster of conditions that includes increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels. Too much sitting also seems to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.”
Another post in the Harvard University health blog reported on a recently published article in the Annals of Internal Medicine. This study reviewed 47 independent studies on the health effects of a sedentary lifestyle, and prolonged sitting specifically as a health risk. They summarized the information as follows:
“Over the course of these studies, people who sat for prolonged periods of time had a higher risk of dying from all causes – even those who exercised regularly. The negative effects were even more pronounced in people who did little or no exercise.”
They go on to state “The current study documented higher rates of type 2 diabetes, cancer, and cancer-related deaths in very sedentary people. An unrelated study has linked more sitting and less activity with an increased risk of developing dementia.”
This information is shocking and fascinating at the same time.
There does not appear to be a clear explanation of why this happens.
Of course, I have my own theory.
As many of you know, I like to relate our health to the Paleo model because human genetics were established at that time approximately 300,000 to 400,000 years ago, and have not significantly changed since then.
Humans Were Designed to be Physically Active
Human had to be active to survive. They were constantly hunting, building, fighting, or running to avoid predators. They were physically active from the moment they woke up until they crawled into the cave to go to sleep. As we have evolved over the ensuing millennia, we have constantly developed more ways to make our physical lives easier and less active. We are very clever in developing mechanical devices to do physical jobs for us — everything from escalators to automobiles. Now we are even developing robotic vacuum cleaners and self-driving cars, so we won’t even have to operate the machines and we can even do less physical activity.
We Are Busy Creating Our Own Demise
I was recently talking to a patient who was telling me about his new business, a device like an electric skateboard that is used to travel around the golf course. Its incredible to me that we are even motivated to creating machines that will make exercise easier!
What’s the point of playing golf if you don’t at least go out and walk the course? It’s mind boggling to me to think that people will use a device on the golf course so they don’t have to exert themselves!!!
What does all this lead to? Basically more heart disease, more diabetes, which is already at epidemic proportions, more cancer, and more dementia.
The Need for Exercise
When I talk to my patients about the need to exercise, many of them tell me how they don’t have the time. If you don’t make time for something this important, then be prepared to face the consequences. This is not something someone else can do for you. This is not something you can get in a pill. And this is not something we can invent a machine to correct.
It Takes Good Old Hard Work and Sweat
The more we can connect to our Paleophysical activity roots the healthier we will be. Take the stairs, park your car further away, carry the heavy packages, walk more and more and more!
Think about how our ancestors lived and try to replicate those efforts both in physical activity and diet. You will reap measurable rewards in the level of robust health that you will achieve.
I have much more valuable information about the health enhancing benefits of exercise in my book The Reddi Plan.(Follow the link below to read more).
My REDDI PLAN for optimal aging is directly in line with this information. Following my Five Step Principles can help anyone become healthier.
Learn how to become healthier, and remain healthy as you age.If you haven’t already done so, call the office to set up a time to talk about your own personalized healthy aging plan.
I can help.