Sitting down too long might be leading to an obesity crisis. You might be sitting on your office chair or in your car for hours without even realizing it.
When it comes to staying healthy, many people believe that all they need is to go for a run every day. However, even if you exercise regularly, prolonged sitting can still lead to fat belly and weight gain.
Does Sitting Cause Belly Fat?
Researchers from the University of Missouri found that prolonged sitting can cause visceral and total abdominal fat to accumulate, as well as increase the size of a person’s liver. Prolonged sitting is a risk factor for metabolic disease, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes.
A study recently found that those who were overweight and physically active, compared to those who were overweight and inactive, had a 40% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
However, the studies so far haven’t been able to determine if physical activity can help prevent fat deposits on internal organs, but more long-term studies are still underway.
How to Prevent Belly Fat While Sitting
Sitting all day is not healthy. It slows your metabolism, puts more wear on your joints, and makes you feel sluggish. Your muscles need to be used or they will tighten up and cramp. You need to move around so that the blood can circulate better and keep your blood pressure low.
Sitting in an office chair all day long can be detrimental to your posture. You may have a nice 6-pack or flat stomach when you get up from the desk, but this will deteriorate if you don’t use it.
It’s important to take care of your body throughout the workday by moving around, taking short breaks for stretching or other exercises, and being sure to get enough rest.
In truth, sitting for extended periods of time can cause you to gain weight if you’re not paying attention to your diet. If you’re looking to lose weight and get a flatter stomach, it’s important to pay attention both to how many calories you’re consuming and the amount of time spent being sedentary.
What Fatal Consequences If Sitting Too Long?
We spend a significant amount of our lives sitting. 83% of people in the United States are classified as sedentary. Sitting for prolonged periods can cause health problems such as varicose veins, back pain, diabetes, heart disease and more.
1. Sitting for too long can have fatal consequences. It restricts blood flow, leads to muscle decay and fat gain. All of these things can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and other diseases.
2. When you sit for too long, your body will slump, your head will tilt forward, and your pelvis will swing back. This will lead to all sorts of issues with your posture.
3. Sitting is the new smoking. It has been proven to cause chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. Adding a standing desk can help reduce the risk of these conditions and even help with weight loss.
The calories burned while standing or walking, for example on a treadmill at one’s desk, takes up all of the extra calories that would be consumed by time spent sitting.
4. Sitting for too long at a computer can have fatal consequences. Prolonged sitting leads to pinched nerves and damaged veins restrict blood flow and can cause leg numbness and pain.
5. Prolonged periods of being sedentary can lead to blood clots which can then lead to a fatal condition known as deep vein thrombosis.
Is it Possible to Lose Weight While Sitting Down?
Sitting down can be a great way to get up and move around. If you get up from your chair every 20 minutes, you will burn about 100 calories in an hour. This is equivalent to a half-hour walk.
However, there are a few ways to lose weight while sitting down. You just need to follow some simple steps.
Replace Your Chair with a stability ball
To lose weight and tone up, invest in a stability ball. Your core, back and legs will get stronger whilst also burning more calories.
Jill Koegel, RD, certified sports dietitian says that using one of these movable, portable balls to sit on for prolonged periods can help you burn an extra 100 calories/day.
If you work 300 days of the year, that could equal 8.5 pounds lost! Or, if you don’t want to fully commit and if want a little more flexibility, opt for this stimulating alternative at least an hour per day.
Even if you have a sedentary job, that doesn’t mean you have to just sit throughout the day without moving.
Stretching every few hours will release tension in your muscles and may help you burn a small number of calories.
Cross your arms across your chest and pull it closer with one arm. Reach up towards the sky and lean on both sides. You can also tone up your leg muscles while sitting by crossing one of your legs over you other as you sit down.
The other way to strengthen your quadriceps is by squeezing a ball between your thighs, knees, or calves. You can do front-inside-outside toe taps, calf raises, and toe raises.
Listen to music
It’s normal to get stressed and crave carbs, not to mention the cognitive effects it can have. However, we all know that music is a good way to deal with these things. That is why listening to calming tunes for 15-30 minutes could help lower cortisol levels and, therefore, help you de-stress and break negative cycles like emotional eating.
A study published in Psychological Reports found that diners are more satisfied with their meal when there is soft music playing. It helps to muffle the sound of chewing.
Other studies have found that loud music or television can also prevent satiety cues (signs telling your body you’ve had enough). This is one of the reasons many people find themselves hungry and overeating.
Plan Out Your Day in Sitting
Try brainstorming, planning out your to-do list or a week’s worth of meals, or writing down your feelings.
Planning your meals ahead of time will not only help you stay on top of your diet, it can also alleviate the stresses and worries about what to cook on a busy weeknight.
Stress can lead to you overeating unhealthy food when you’re on the go. Stress is also linked to weight gain by increasing levels of cortisol- a hormone that regulates fat storage.
Play a Video Game in Sitting
When you feel the urge to indulge in a craving, find a distraction instead. It may not seem like it when you’re in the middle of craving, but they usually only last about 10 minutes. There’s no need to give in and lose thousands of calories and pounds when all you need is to wait!
While we typically recommend going for a walk, playing video games is another great way to burn some calories – especially if you’re on the couch.
Research shows that sometimes the best way to be healthy and maintain a satisfying weight is to get active and competitive. You may be surprised at how rewarding it can be, which in turn helps you control your appetite.
Getting up and moving has many benefits. It helps to relieve stress and can improve your mood and energy levels. Sitting is natural – but it can also lead to obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes, and an increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease.