Inactivity can trigger diabetes, health problems -


Inactivity can trigger diabetes, health problems

Did you know too much sitting can actually be lethal? Research has linked long periods of being sedentary with increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, and an increased risk of death from heart disease and cancer.

In fact, every moment you're not moving, can actually shorten your life.

"We should be encouraging physical activity from sunrise until sunset," said Dr. Charles Upchurch, a physician specializing in diabetes, metabolism & endocrinology with the Mecklenburg Medical Group in Charlotte, NC. 

In one study, researchers found that every hour of sitting down and watching television cuts life expectancy by about 21 minutes. 

That's worse than smoking a single cigarette which costs about 11 minutes of life!

Other data shows that among the most sedentary adults, there's a whopping 112-percent higher risk of developing diabetes.

"The sedentaryness of your daily routine actually trumps anything you might do in your 30 minute workout," Dr. Upchurch said. 

And here is the real kicker.

Clocking in weekly gym time doesn't seem to offset the damage done by sitting all day at your desk or watching TV.

Sure, that daily jog is good for you, but when your derriere hits a chair, calorie-burning and muscle contractions plunge, especially in the lower limbs.

Needing less energy, blood sugar builds up kicking off a cascade of health issues, particularly diabetes.

"The best treatment, is physical activity," Dr. Upchurch said.

While it may seem extreme, instead of sitting at a desk, why not create a treadmill under it so you walk and work at the same time?
Less distracting are small changes like putting the garbage bin on the other side of the office, standing during coffee breaks and phone calls, and taking the stairs or wearing a pedometer to count your steps.

"You can challenge yourself to take more steps at work," Dr. Upchurch said.

Don't ditch your daily workout, but as you're breaking a sweat for those 30 minutes, think about the other 23.5 hours of your day where you're not!

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Additional Information:

The following information is from the Mayo Clinic (Source:

  • Researchers have linked sitting for long periods of time with increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, abnormal cholesterol levels.
  • Too much sitting can increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.
  • One study compared adults who spent less than two hours a day in front of the TV or other screen-based entertainment with those who logged more than four hours a day of recreational screen time. Those with greater screen time had a nearly 50 percent increased risk of death from any cause and a 125 percent increased risk of events associated with cardiovascular disease, such as chest pain (angina) or heart attack
  • Spending a few hours a week at the gym or otherwise engaged in moderate or vigorous activity doesn't seem to significantly offset the risk.
  • The solution seems to be less sitting and more moving overall. You might start by simply standing rather than sitting whenever you have the chance.

The following information is from the New York Times (Source:

  • When you sit, electrical activity in the muscles drops leading to a cascade of harmful metabolic effects. Your calorie-burning rate immediately plunges to about one per minute, a third of what it would be if you got up and walked. Insulin effectiveness drops within a single day, and the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes rises. So does the risk of being obese. The enzymes responsible for breaking down lipids and triglycerides plunge, which in turn causes the levels of good (HDL) cholesterol to fall.
  • A study published in the journal Circulation, looked at nearly 9,000 Australians and found that for each additional hour of television a person sat and watched per day, the risk of dying rose by 11 percent.
  • In a motion-tracking study, scientists found that obese subjects averaged only 1,500 daily movements and nearly 600 minutes sitting.

The following information is from the New York Times (Source:

  • Study published in the October issue of The British Journal of Sports Medicine, using data from the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study which surveyed the health habits of almost 12,000 Australian adults.
  • Every single hour of television watched after the age of 25 reduces the viewer's life expectancy by 21.8 minutes. Comparatively, smoking a single cigarette reduces life expectancy by about 11 minutes.
  • Results hold true even for people who exercise regularly.
  • A study published in Diabetologia using data from 18 studies involving 794,577 people found that people with the "highest sedentary behavior" had a 112 percent increase in their relative risk of developing diabetes, a 147% increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease and a 49% greater risk of dying prematurely even if they exercised regularly.
  • Prolonged sitting reduces skeletal muscle contractions, especially in the large lower limb muscles. Requiring less fuel, blood sugar builds up in the bloodstream, contributing to diabetes risk and other health problems.
  • Cut off the TV, put the garbage bin on the other side of the office, standing coffee breaks and calls, standing meetings.
  • The average adult spends 50-70% of their time sitting.

The following information is from the BBC (Source:

  • A study published in Diabetologia, involving almost 800,000 people concluded that while going to the gym after work is better than going home to the sofa, spending long times sitting down is bad for you.
  • Researchers say it is not possible to give an absolute limit for how much sedentary time is bad for you.
  • Those who sat the most had a higher risk of diabetes, heart disease and death than those that sat the least.
  • The strongest associations in the analysis were between prolonged sitting and diabetes.
  • Sedentary lifestyle affects glucose levels and increases insulin resistance, but scientists do not yet know how.

The following information is from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (Source:

  • The study carried out by researchers from Loughborough University and the University of Leicester (Diabetologia) four the longest time spent sedentary was associated with a 112% increase in the risk of diabetes, 147% increase in cardiovascular events, 90% increase in death due to cardiovascular events, 49% increase in death.
  • The study can not show that sedentary behavior is the direct cause of the increases in risk but it reinforces recommendations.
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