A 2011 study published in the American Journal of Physiology – Cell Physiology reports that moving and exercising help the muscles release molecules, such as lipoprotein lipase.
These molecules play a key role in processing the fats and sugars that you consume. When you sit for prolonged periods, the fats and sugars are not processed properly, leading to fat accumulating in the abdominal region.
In fact, an increase in waist circumference is far more dangerous than overall body weight. Belly fat increases the risk of chronic health issues like heart disease, strokes, diabetes, cancer and early mortality. Thus, reducing belly fat is always a significant benefit to one’s health.
2. Heart Disease
Prolonged sitting also has a negative effect on internal organs, especially your heart. Sitting in the same place for hours leads to poor blood flow to all body parts, including your heart.
Poor blood flow allows fats and plaque to easily clog your heart, which in turn leads to high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol and cardiovascular disease.
A 2010 study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise reports that sedentary behaviors increase men’s risk of dying from a cardiovascular disease. In fact, people who sit more have a 82 percent higher risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke.
Another study published in Current Opinion in Cardiology in 2011 says that total sedentary time is highly associated with several cardiovascular risk factors, whereas breaking up sedentary time is beneficially associated.
A 2015 study published in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension suggests that metabolic changes linked to prolonged sitting could be responsible for the development of cardiovascular disease.
3. Back and Neck Pain
Spending most of the time in a seated position, and with poor posture, is simply bad for your back and neck. The very act of sitting puts more pressure on the spine and compresses the disks in your spine. This can lead to premature degeneration, which results in chronic pain.
Sitting with poor posture can be particularly bad for your lower back. A 2007 study published in the European Spine Journal reports that sitting by itself does not show an increased association with lower back pain.
However, sitting in combination with other co-exposures, such as whole body vibration and awkward posture, does increase the risk.
According to a 2010 article by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, prolonged sitting causes damage to the muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments, affecting the neck and lower back regions.
4. Unhealthy Blood Sugar Levels
People who spend more time sitting and lead a sedentary lifestyle are at an increased risk of diabetes. More sedentary time is independently associated with insulin resistance, diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance.
Plus, prolonged sitting can make your pancreas produce more insulin, which can lead to diabetes.
A 2007 study published in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology reports that physical inactivity was associated with the development of insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, increased blood pressure and impaired microvascular function in healthy volunteers.
A 2013 study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity suggests that higher volumes of sitting time are significantly associated with diabetes and overall chronic disease, independent of physical activity and other potentially confounding factors.
A Diabetes Care report in 2013 says that interrupting sitting time with short bouts of light- or moderate-intensity walking can lower postprandial glucose and insulin levels in obese people.