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Can Prolonged Sitting Make Us Sick?

Do you sit for more than three hours a day? Over 10,000 studies have shown evidence that prolonged sitting can promote chronic disease. If your lifestyle has you sitting for several hours each day, you might want to look at a couple of ways to adjust the amount of time you spend in that chair, sofa or recliner.

People who are active and exercise regularly are apparently not exempt since research shows that even vigorous exercise is unable to counteract the detrimental effects of prolonged sitting. Keeping the total number of “sitting” hours to three or less, however, may help prevent most of the damage.

In studying fossil records of our forefathers who were “hunters” and “gatherers,” anthropologists uncovered interesting findings. These bones show a higher bone density than the bones from people during the last several hundred years who led a more settled lifestyle. The more active they were, the better the bone density. This is why healthcare practitioners recommend weight-bearing exercises for those with osteopenia (decreased bone density) and osteoporosis (porous and brittle bones).

Within 90 seconds of standing, the cellular and muscular systems that process blood glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides are activated. These systems are mediated by insulin. Standing and moving can drastically reduce the chances of obesity and diabetes.

According to Dr. Joan Vernikos, former director of NASA’s Life Sciences Division, space medicine has helped in our understanding of the detrimental effects of prolonged sitting. Their findings have shown that the human body deteriorates faster in anti-gravity conditions. Prolonged sitting simulates a low gravity situation. Alternatively, standing up or bending down increase gravity’s force on the body.

God designed our bodies to be moving most of the day. Inactivity for extended periods is similar to telling our body that the time has come to shut down and prepare for death. Of course, we still need rest, but resting should occur between our activities, not instead of it.

Solutions (No prescription necessary)

Barring any health conditions that would prohibit standing or mobility, try these suggestions:

1) Just get up!

2) Don’t sit for more than 50 minutes out of every hour.

3) If your work consists of many hours sitting at a desk, consider using a stand-up desk. If that is not an option, at least get up and move 10 minutes out of every hour.

4) If your job allows it, stand up and move every 15 minutes. If you need to be reminded to move, you might consider using a fitness band or phone app with an alarm.

Just as standing and moving can help protect our physical bodies from chronic disease, standing up for God brings us into position for Him to protect us spiritually. “Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:13 / KJV)

What creative ways would you suggest to add more activity into your day?

About Denise Ferrell

Denise is a Registered Nurse, married, and has lived in Alabama all of her life. She has been a Christian for more than 40 years and has studied Prophecy for over 25 years. She writes devotionals for Faithwriters (www.faithwriters.com). She also writes for TGGmag ('Tween Girls and God online magazine for girls age 9-12). She desires to share Christ with others through her writing and is looking forward to the soon return of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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  1. Great article…. writing is definitely a sit down job, thank you for all the helpful tips to keep moving!

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