Sitting Disease - "Sitting Is The New Smoking"
Sitting Disease - Sitting Is The New Smoking

All of us were are of the ill effects of smoking on our body systems and risks of cancer and coronary artery disease due to excessive/prolonged indulgence in this bad habit.

While not intended to undermine the adverse health consequences of smoking, recent studies of patients with acquired heart disease have identified a novel and preventable risk factor in the occurrence of coronary artery disease - Prolonged Sitting.

Before exploring the ill effects of prolonged sitting on our health, let us expand on the terminology. The phenomenon of un-prevented coronary artery disease in people who exercise regularly for 40 minutes to 1 hour a day made researchers think about the reason for the same. A person who exercises an hour regularly fails to counter the disadvantages of physical inactivity during the remaining 23 hours of the day. In fact, binge exercising has been shown to increase not only morbidity including extreme fatigue, bone/joint and muscle disorders, but also paradoxical weight gain if exercise is taken beyond the threshold of stress. This may result in stimulating steroids production/release, but it also increases the risk of mortality also.

Why is sitting called the new smoking?

Prolonged sitting causes bone loss, pathological fractures due to trivial trauma, muscle atrophy, immune dysregulation, increases the risk of colon cancer and metabolic syndromes such as diabetes mellitus, deep vein thrombosis, obesity, high cholesterol, coronary artery disease and sudden cardiac death.

Therefore, the key to acting to prevent cardiac problems is not to exercise for a defined time every day, but to modify the lifestyle as a whole. Improving physical activity throughout the day like walking 5-10 minutes after every hour of sitting, climbing stairs instead of taking lifts, avoiding personal transport whenever possible and switching to public transport modes, avoiding watching TV for prolonged periods, limiting time spent on computers and reading and standing rather than sitting as much as possible. These actions, along with 40 minutes of dedicated moderate intensity physical activity (i.e. walking) or 30 minutes of intense physical activity (i.e. jogging, swimming, cycling) has been shown to help in preventing the occurrence of coronary artery disease.

The Key:

• Do not just change an hour of the day but the day itself

• 1 hour of sitting = smoking 2 cigarettes

• 1 hour of sitting = reduces life expectancy by 20 minutes

• Less time spent sitting = lower risk of heart disease

Article by Dr.S.Booma, DNB (General Medicine), DNB (Cardiology),
Senior Registrar, Department of Cardiology
Kauvery Hospital


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