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Too Much Sitting Can Kill You, Study Suggests

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  • Too Much Sitting Can Kill You, Study Suggests

    MONDAY, March 26 (HealthDay News) -- For better health, try standing up more, a new study suggests. Those who spend 11 or more hours a day sitting are 40 percent more likely to die over the next three years regardless of how physically active they are otherwise, researchers say.
    Too Much Sitting Can Kill You, Study Suggests - Yahoo! News

  • #2
    That's interesting. As far as I can see they're not linking it to inactivity but specifically to that posture.

    It's interesting to me from the perspective of having done Alexander Technique where there is an emphasis on re-educating people on how to get in and out of chairs and how to sit in them. This simply because few people do it really well -- chairs seem to encourage unnatural postural habits.

    I suspect people who sat cross-legged or in lotus, etc. (or who squatted -- sat on their hams) might not have similar increased risk of mortality. I think this will be not sitting simpliciter but sitting in chairs.

    There's a lady who's both a Professor of Architecture (at Berkeley) and an Alexander Technique teacher who has a book on the chair that I keep meaning to get around to reading: The Chair: Rethinking Culture, Body, and Design (9780393319552): Galen Cranz: Books

    One of the things people often do in chairs is slump against the back-rest with their shoulders and upper back but with the bottom forward -- often sitting on the coccyx instead of the ischial tuberosities (sitting bones). The back-rest of a chair unfortunately provides a stimulus to do just that.

    Among other things, this compresses the abdominal area. That's going to squash up the internal organs, and how is that likely to be good for you? It will also interfere with respiration: if the diaphragm can't move freely, you can't breathe as deeply as you would.
    Last edited by Lewis; 03-27-2012, 11:05 PM. Reason: spelling


    • #3
      This bit caught my eye:

      Analyzing self-reported data from more than 222,000 people aged 45 and older

      I hate how journalists make massive generalisations. Self-reported data might not be accurate for a start and they've only looked at over 45's. At least the researchers are aware of the limitations of the study and say more studies are needed


      • #4
        I've been sitting for close to 12 hours a day for about 10 years, and I'm still alive and in great health overall.

        That said, sitting for a long time and driving, in my case, can be really hard on your body. I have to stretch myself out almost daily and I do have to be aware of my posture. It's really easy to slump in a car seat just because you're trying to find a comfortable position.

        My posture was so bad for so many years that a mix between that, being slightly overweight and working out too hard literally put a slight tear in one of my meniscus'. If you are forced into being sedentary other than the time you spend at the gym, do be aware of posture. Don't take it lightly if it's your normal daily state of being. Most people sit with their vehicle seats reclined too far and back sit too far from the steering wheel. You start to roll your feet and knees out, which rolls your hips out, which can throw everything out of wack. I'm an extreme example, but there aren't many people that spend a lot of time on the road for a lot of years that don't have lower back problems and don't find themselves with tight calves and hamstrings at a minimum.


        • #5
          In their books, the Drs Eades talk about iron and how it is quarantined in your body because it is such a potent oxidizer. Apparently it is tied up in your cells, but when those cells lose blood flow, the tissues degrade and release the iron.

          Apparently this is the cause of a lot of the damage associated with a heart attack because the heart tissue stores so much iron. I believe they called it a reperfusion injury. The speculated that this could happen on a much smaller scale with other muscle tissues that have their blood supply cut off.

          If I sit too long, or in the wrong chair, I'm prone to my foot or leg falling asleep. I also wake up with a numb arm or hand several nights per week from sleeping on it.

          Just another reason to stand up and stretch every so often.


          • #6
            This story is in the news so much I really think it's true.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Catharsis View Post
              I'm an extreme example, but there aren't many people that spend a lot of time on the road for a lot of years that don't have lower back problems and don't find themselves with tight calves and hamstrings at a minimum.
              I wonder what too much sitting in a chair, or probably worse a car seat, does for the hips, too. Tight hips are another cultural phenomenon in the West. Doubtless it has some effect on the need for hip-replacement operations. I expect that's multi-causal, and poor diet's not going to help the integrity of joints; but if a joint is over-tight what's likely to happen over a long enough time?

              I suspect a car seat would be worse than a chair physiologically. That's because sitting down (and getting up) are also relevant -- people tend to think of their bodies in "static" ways rather than understanding that they're systems in movement. It's important to keep length as you sit down, hinging properly at the hips and allowing the spine to maintain its full length. Studies have shown that almost everyone in a modern society unconsciously tightens the neck and puts the head back and down when sitting down. That causes the head -- it's, what? 10lbs, IIRC -- to compress the spine as you get down. The head should be allowed to remain free, continuing to "float" forward and up.[*]

              Now think of trying to get into a car seat, where you can't even stand in front of it. What you should, in fact, do is face on sideways to the car, sit down on the seat facing out the door, and then swing round on your bottom to face forwards, lifting the legs over the door-sill as you go. Few people do that (because people in our society have a poor body sense). Imagine what pressures most people put on their joints, including the knees, by poking one leg in over the sill and going into the seat with a twisting movement! Strangely enough finishing schools used to teach smart young ladies to get into cars in the right way -- purely, I think, because the wrong way looks so damn inelegant (and perhaps because they could better control the possibly embarrassing movement of their skirts relative to their legs, being properly balanced and grounded). Perhaps there's a lesson there: if a physical movement looks inelegant, it's probably physiologically harmful as well.


              * Note: Someone who habitually maintains that length and that lightness in their body can get up very lightly and easily. Here is that very observant and informative painter George Catlin on the Mandan women:

              The position in which the women sit at their meals and on other occasions is different from that of the men, and one which they take and rise from again, with great ease and much grace, by merely bending the knees both together, inclining the body back and the head and shoulders quite forward, they squat entirely down to the ground, inclining both feet either to the right or the left. In this position they always rest while eating, and it is both modest and graceful, for they seem, with apparent ease, to assume the position and rise out of it, without using their hands in any way to assist them.

              It's interesting that Catlin is expecting that someone would need to use their hands to get up from a sitting (here squatting: sitting on your hams) posture. He finds it remarkable that the Mandan women don't. Catlin's expectations being what they were I think we have to conclude that body-use was already somewhat awry among 19th century whites. North American Indians, not being brought up with chairs (and possibly a range of other disturbers of natural use, such as heels on shoes) just had more "up" in their bodies.
              Last edited by Lewis; 03-28-2012, 10:13 AM. Reason: To add link to Catlin's "Letters and Notes"


              • #8
                One of the first things I noticed when I began working out again was how terrible my posture was after a decade at a desk job. I still have to consciously straighten up and get up/walk/grok squat/whatever, but at least I'm aware of it now. I could not believe how far forward I was slouching when I first became aware of it.


                • #9
                  Chiropractors have known this for decades. Structure dictates function. New science involving feedback loops of proprioceptive vs nociceptive feedback from the spine to the brain is very interesting and fills a lot of holes as to why improved biomechanical function effects more than just the joints involved, but the overall well being of an organism.
                  Last edited by Neckhammer; 03-29-2012, 12:37 PM.


                  • #10
                    I guess I am doomed, I am a courier and put on over 200 miles a day sitting. at least I am getting out to make pick ups and deliveries, and often try to sprint up stairs and have to lift heavy boxes, so mabye it wont kill me hehe
                    I like taking pictures of my food!

                    MT's Primal Feedbag:


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Michael Thompson View Post
                      I guess I am doomed, I am a courier and put on over 200 miles a day sitting. at least I am getting out to make pick ups and deliveries, and often try to sprint up stairs and have to lift heavy boxes, so mabye it wont kill me hehe
                      I'm a private investigator and I spend hours seated. Sometimes I don't have the option to get out of the car, so I feel your pain. This work week alone, which will end on Saturday for me, l will have spent 57 hours in the car either billing out time or traveling.

                      Sitting will definitely tighten your hips. After I tore my knee, I did a LOT of physical therapy in lieu of surgery, which thankfully worked. Being in my line of work, I know who the really good physical therapists are, so I went to them...a lot. I had several tell me that both of my ITB's were the tightest they had ever seen. I had one tell me over and over again to stretch my hips on a regular basis, because my lack of flexibility was on par with her patients that have needed hip replacement surgery. My calves were so tight that I could not lay flat on my back and lift either leg straight up @ 90 degrees. It was more like 60 degrees. Even after MONTHS of PT, I wasn't 100% and really, I'm still not. If I don't stretch regularly, I'll get pain in my knee again.

                      In the interest of not being misleading, a lot of my problems weren't just from sitting. I had injuries in the past that I never went to PT for, but the sitting compounded them.