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Women & Sitting Disease: What You NEED To Know
By now, you’ve no doubt heard the phrase “Sitting is the new smoking.”
And while I’ve previously covered why that’s not exactly true (a big reason being, you can choose not to smoke -- quitting sitting is not possible).
That said, there are of course a number of enormous risks sedentarism places on your health. And as it turns out, with regard to these risks, men and women are not created equal.
New studies have found that prolonged sitting can create a deadly combination of conditions known as “Sitting Disease.” And unfortunately, women run a far greater risk of developing it. Therefore, it’s important you become aware of these.
What Is Sitting Disease?
The Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study, conducted in 2010, followed subjects for an average of about six years. And over time, they found that death rates were significantly higher for adults who spent more time plopped in front of a TV. This was the first study to link viewing time with mortality. Results showed that for every hour you spend in front of the TV, it can increase your risk of dying earlier — by 11 per cent for all causes of death, by 18 per cent for cardiovascular death and by nine percent for cancer death.
When you sit for long periods, your muscles aren’t contracting, which disrupts blood flow, according to David Dunstan, co-author of the 2010 Australian study.
“Adults who sit or lie down for several hours at a stretch experience big reductions in insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance, as well as increased amounts of fat in their blood,” adds Travis Saunders, a certified exercise physiologist and PhD graduate from the University of Ottawa who studies the health impact of sedentary behaviour.
Why Is Sitting Disease Worse For Women?
The study of the relationship between a sedentary lifestyle and mortality is fairly new, but what we do know is startling -- particularly for women. Studies have shown that people who sit for great lengths of time and don’t exercise regularly face even greater mortality rates than those who just sit — a startling 94 per cent higher for women and 48 per cent higher for men.
Another study, published in the journal Circulation, followed 5,000 women aged 63-97 years old. They gave the participants accelerometers to wear for up to a week, to track their active vs. sedentary time. They tracked the women for five years, taking note of their cardiovascular risk, including heart attack, stroke, heart pains requiring hospitalization, and death from heart disease.
The findings were not surprising: women who spend more time in a sedentary state increased their likelihood of developing heart disease. And as expected, they found the longer the period of sedentary behavior, the greater the risk.
“Each additional hour of sedentary time, on average,” the authors concluded, “was associated with a 12% increase in multivariable adjusted risk for Cardiovascular Disease (CVD). Dose-dependent increased risk of 4% was also observed for each 1-minute increase in sedentary bout duration, indicating that prolonged sedentary accumulation patterns are associated with higher CVD risk in older women.”
Basically, for each additional unit of time a woman spends sitting, her risk of heart disease rises.
Women are also more susceptible to uncommon causes of chronic pain, such as coccydynia (tailbone pain). This condition can develop over time or very suddenly after an impact to the area at the end of your spine.
The tailbone is often painful to the touch, so sitting (or anything that puts pressure on the area) can cause intense pain. Women are 5 times more likely than men to develop coccydynia. Two major reasons why: pregnancy-related injuries and the less-protected position of the tailbone in women.
What You Can Do To Fight Back
You do not have to become a slave to the dreaded “Sitting Disease.” There are actionable steps you can take today! One of them is very simple: get up and move!
If you use a standard office chair, make sure you take adequate breaks to get up and stretch to disrupt the long periods of sitting. 2 minutes of light to moderate walking for every 20 minutes is recommended.
Another thing you can do, as this article has mentioned, is to get some exercise! You don’t need to hit the gym six times a week; about 30 minutes of light to moderate exercise a few times a week will make a world of difference.
Now, here’s the really important part: study after study has confirmed that, while taking breaks and exercise is helpful, neither fully dissolve the harmful effects sitting has on your body.
Which means there’s only one thing you can do… change the way you sit.
Sitting isn’t like smoking because people can go their whole lives without smoking -- that’s just not possible for sitting. We need to sit. The trouble is, almost every chair you’ve ever sat in has wreaked havoc on your health. That’s why we slouch, slump and hunch; that’s why we develop back and neck problems early in life; that’s why, when we finally get up out of our chairs, we feel completely drained of energy.
Fortunately, there is a chair that not only fixes the way you sit… it has been shown to completely eliminate back pain, improve circulation and digestion, engage the core, and even boost your energy so that you get out of it with more energy, not less.
It’s a chair that took years to design… dozens of early models… countless sessions of trial-and-error…
So that you can finally sit comfortably… while you actually IMPROVE your health.
>> How Women Are Defeating Sitting Disease