This sedentary behavior can be seen in many people in the workforce, even in those who find the time to do leisure or purposeful physical activity. The American Heart Association recommends that these bouts of sedentary behavior should be intermittently broken up in order to put a stop to prolonged sedentary behaviors. This can be done by doing light exercise, or simply standing and leaving your desk for a few minutes every so often.
Sitting and Heart Disease: What Happens in People Who Sit for a Prolonged Period?
There are several other physiologic events that can be observed when people sit for a prolonged period of time:
Decreased Caloric Expenditure
During prolonged periods of sitting, the human body typically spends very little amounts of energy.
Simply walking or standing can increase the energy expenditure by as little as 10% to as high as 100%.
Diabetes and Obesity
Studies have shown that for every 2-hour increment of sitting at work, there is:
- A 5% increased risk of developing obesity
- A 7% increased risk of developing diabetes
This is true even when the said individual participates in physical activity or not.
Increased cholesterol levels due to a reduced production of lipoprotein lipase (LPL) while sitting
LPL is an enzyme that is involved in the regulation of fatty tissues, triglycerides, and cholesterol
This is why even patients with reduced LPL who find time to do adequate physical activity are still at risk for developing heart disease.