How our sedentary lifestyles are killing us

All day long, most people simply shift from one chair to another. First, it’s from the breakfast table to the car seat, and then to a chair in the office. Yet again, we eat our lunch in the same position. And what comes next is a seat at the dinner table, followed by the sofa in front of the television or a laptop computer screen. Then it’s usually time for bed, where we’re even more physically inactive.

Even if you have an energetic lifestyle, you probably still spend a good part of your day in the seated position. For most of us, that mounts up to about 12 hours. Here’s the problem: Too much sitting is killing all-too-many of us — literally — by contributing to heart disease, diabetes, and serious weight gain (including obesity).

This is a recent phenomenon. Historically, energy-intensive activities like hunting and gathering, as well as farming, kept our long lineage of ancestors healthy. But we no longer have to break a sweat to put food on the dinner table. Instead, we just have to open the refrigerator door.

Furthermore, the technological conveniences of modern society have ushered-in a new reality: Most of us no longer have to do hardly anything of a physical nature if we don’t really want to. Even walking is becoming unnecessary. Thanks to the Internet, you can now do your banking, shopping, send birthday cards, socialize with friends, and even make a living, without ever leaving your comfy chair.

Yet your body is designed to be active. That’s how it thrives. But if it becomes idle, it powers-down and its various operating systems become less efficient. For instance, when you sit for extended periods of time, your metabolism starts to shut down. Flab-burning enzymes responsible for breaking down triglycerides (a type of fat) literally start switching off. And if you sit all day long, those fat burners plunge by up to 50 percent, according to medical studies.

Conversely, getting consistent activity throughout the day keeps your metabolism operating in high gear. Even a minimal amount of effort can make an appreciable difference. In fact, when you get out of your chair and start moving around — for as little as a minute or two — your fat burners become active again.

Check out my next post, Get Up and Move Around! Or You’ll be Sorry…, for simple healthy, fat-burning solutions to being stuck in a chair for hours on end each day.


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