How 3 Hours of Sitting Can Damage Your Blood Vessels

Researchers found a great risk of excessive sitting for adults.  However, it is estimated that children also spend their waking day sedentary. Namely, every child sits about 8.5 hours daily.

According to a study, sitting for too long contributes to constricted leg arteries in adults, thus impeding blood flow, increasing blood pressure, as well as may lead to heart disease development.

The Vascular Function Can Be Reduced Just by Three Hours of Uninterrupted Sitting

All of the participants had healthy arterial function at the beginning of the study. But, they experienced a significant reduction in vascular function after sitting for three hours a day, for instance watching movies, playing on tablets, etc.

Fortunately, there were some encouraging results. The artery function of the participants had returned to normal several days after they interrupted their sitting time by a gentle 10-minute cycling session.

What’s more, it was stated for The New York Times by Dr. Ali McManus, who is the author of the study and an associate professor of Pediatric Exercise Physiology at the University of British Columbia in Kelowna that it is clear from these results why children are not recommended to sit for long, uninterrupted periods of time.


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The Mind Unleashed featured a remarkable description of what happens in various areas of the human body after prolonged sitting:

 – Organ Damage

  • Heart: While sitting blood flows more slowly as well as muscles burn less fat, making it easier for fatty acids to clog the heart. According to research that was published in the American College of Cardiology Journal, those women that sit for 10 or more hours daily had a dramatically higher risk of developing heart disease compared to those that sit for only five hours or less.
  • Pancreas: There was research published in Diabetologia showing people who sat for the longest periods of time had double risk of developing heart disease or diabetes than those who sat the least.
  • Colon Cancer: Sitting for too long may increase the chance of developing colon, endometrial, or breast cancer.

That’s not all, there are findings that were presented at the Inaugural Active Working Summit in 2015, which also showed that sitting can elevate the risk of developing:

  •  Colon cancer by 30%
  •  Lung cancer by 54%
  •  Uterine cancer by 66%
  • Digestion: Sitting after you’ve eaten makes the abdominal contents to compress, thus resulting in slower digestion. In addition, sluggish digestion contributes to constipation, heartburn, bloating, cramping, and dysbiosis in the gastrointestinal tract, i.e., a condition triggered by microbial imbalances in the body.

– Brain Damage

If the body is in a sedentary position for too long, the brain function slows down as there is less fresh blood and oxygen in the brain.

– Posture Problems

  • Strained Shoulders and Neck: Most people usually hold their neck and head forward while working at a computer or cradling a phone to your ear. It can result in cervical vertebrae strain with permanent imbalances, contributing to neck strain, and sore back and shoulders.
  • Back Problems: It is a fact that sitting puts much more pressure on the spine than standing. About 40% of people suffering from back pain have spent a lot of time at their computer every day.

– Muscle Degeneration

  • Hip Problems: Prolonged sitting can also have negative effects on the hip health. Specifically, the hips can become tight and limited in range of motion since they are rarely extended.

– Leg Disorders

Varicose Veins: Poor circulation in the legs can be caused by prolonged sitting, thus resulting in ankle swelling, blood clots, and varicose veins.

Weak Bones: Physical inactivity may lead to weak bones and osteoporosis, as well.

Kids and Adults May Find Standing Desks Beneficial

Squirming, restlessness, and frequent fidgeting are usually experienced symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in children. It is thought that such behaviors are common when children are forced to sit still for very long periods of time, such as the majority of a school day.

On the other hand, there are some forward-thinking schools that give children chances to move around during the day, instead of sitting for hours in desks. For example, chair-less standing desks have been introduced in four classes have at Vallecito Elementary School in San Rafael, California.

Believe it or not, it was reported by the students that these desks are fun and help them stay more concentrated. Teachers pointed out the desks make students more attentive and parents revealed their kids have a better night’s sleep.

Standing desks can offer other benefits, including:

  • Increase heart rate by eight beats per minute, whereas treadmill desks elevate heart rate by 12 beats per minute
  • Increase HDL or good cholesterol
  • Those using standing desks experience less confusion, tension, depression, and fatigue, and more happiness, focus, energy, and vigor.

Regular Physical Activity Is Essential for Keeping Optimal Health

Dr. James Levine reveals in his book Get Up!: Why Your Chair Is Killing You and What You Can Do About It that when someone gets a standing desk, he/she typically stands for a few hours daily. However, these people don’t stand still, but they actually move from leg to leg as well as change their body posture a lot, leading to various physiological benefits to the musculature, testicular system, visual cortex, etc.

Also, fidgeting seems to offer positive effects.

Here are other simple methods to be more physically active and avoid sitting down:

  • It is advisable to organize the layout of your office space, so that you will have to stand up to reach the telephone, the printer, etc. instead of reaching everything easily.
  • You can engage your core muscles and improve your flexibility and balance by sitting on an exercise ball, rather than just sitting in a chair.
  • You can also set a timer in order to remind you to stand up as well as move about for 2-10 minutes every hour.

Excellent Tips for Making Your Children Move:

Well, younger children naturally want to be active. However, as they get older kids may tend to become sedentary, particularly in case they have regular access to TV, computers, video games, and so on.

As a parent, it is recommended to set limits on your kid’s screen time and encourage certain organized sports as well as other activities or taking part in active chores around the house, for instance walking the dog, raking leaves, taking out the trash, etc.

In case you are a parent of a school-aged child, then consider consulting the educators of your child about ways to include more movement into their hours spent at school, such as standing desks, outdoor playtime, gym classes, and exercise bikes and balls.

You Should Note Sit More than Three Hours a Day

A US adult on average sits 9-10 hours on a daily basis that is too much inactivity, so that even a half an hour or an hour workout cannot counteract its effects.