There’s a way to undo some of the harm of prolonged sitting for three hours.
If you’re sitting at your computer for three hours, but get up three times during that session and walk for five minutes, this will make a big difference when compared to not leaving the chair once during that three hours.
A study from Indiana University says that the three, five minute walks, even if done slowly, can reverse the harm that the prolonged sitting can do to the arteries in the legs.
Excessive sitting is linked to a myriad of insults including higher cholesterol, fat gain, blood clots, back pain, heart disease and increased mortality over the short term.
The earliest studies of prolonged sitting grabbed my attention and I purchased a treadmill desk, but if you don’t have such a device, at least get up three times in three hours and walk for five minutes.
The Problems in the Legs
The IU study says that prolonged sitting causes muscles to become slack, reducing their ability to efficiently pump blood to the heart.
The result is blood pooling in the legs, which can adversely affect arteries there.
Population-based evidence links prolonged sitting to a number of chronic conditions and also links breaking up the sitting time with some relief of harmful effects.
However, “there is very little experimental evidence” of this, says lead IU study author Saurabh Thosar in the paper.
The study shows that prolonged sitting leads to impairment of endothelial function in the leg arteries.
What only 60 Minutes of Continuous Sitting Can Do to the Legs, even Though You Won’t Feel It
Just one hour of continuous sitting will impair the function of the main artery (femoral) in the legs, say the IU researchers…by as much as 50 percent.
But the study subjects who got up the three times to walk five minutes experienced no drop in the arterial function.
When did the study subjects take the walking break? At the 30 minute mark, 1.5 hour mark and 2.5 hour mark. They walked 2 mph.
Sitting Disease: The “New Smoking”
Sitting for prolonged periods day in and day out is now considered as hazardous to one’s health as smoking.
And as you’ve just read, even three hours is harmful. Prolonged habitual sitting is strongly linked to an assortment of health ailments.
Tips on Breaking up Sitting Time
• Do not finish all your housework before a planned sitting marathon. Instead, let it accumulate. This will give you an excuse to get up every hour or less (less is better) to walk around.
• Some tasks that you can save up for a sitting marathon include: watering the plants, emptying or loading a dishwasher, taking out the garbage, replacing a furnace filter, folding laundry, vacuuming, dusting, going through the snail mail, ironing and picking up toys.
• You can also pace about to some music or perform some standing yoga poses.