You hear it more often nowadays: sitting is bad for you. What are the repercussions of sitting too long? Can you do something about it?
Repercussions of sitting
Indeed, sedentary work has been shown to increase the risk of harmful health effects. For example, spending a lot of time sitting down is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular diseases. This was found in some studies, regardless of whether individuals had 150 minutes of moderately intensive exercise per week, as the Dutch Norm Gezond Bewegen (Healthy Exercise Standard) describes. This means that excessive sitting behaviour can have negative consequences, regardless of whether you exercise a lot or not. On the other hand, physical exertion is indeed essential for good health.
Sitting too much can cause a so-called ‘boreout’; a burnout caused by boredom. The human body needs movement to function well and healthily for a long period of time. The health effects of physical activity have been unmistakably shown. On average, people who are physically active live longer. This applies both to people who are already active and to people who become more active. It also reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer (bowel and breast cancer). Exercise reduces blood pressure, improves insulin sensitivity and plays a major role in managing a healthy weight. A healthy weight and body composition can reduce health complaints.