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A new article and infographic from The Washington Post shows all the ways that sitting is negatively affecting the health of the average U.S. adult. Whether it be working at a desk or sitting in front of the television, sitting contributes to many health issues that already plague Latinos such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Sitting causes the muscles to burn less fat and causes blood to flow at a slower pace, which allows more fatty acids to easily clog the heart. Long-term effects of prolonged sitting also include high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol. People with a sedentary lifestyle, that includes sitting a majority of their day, are more than twice as likely to have heart diseases and related issues than those who sit less frequently.
Latinos are already at huge risk for heart disease, with it being reported in 2013 that Latinos are the most at risk group for heart disease. There are many factors that lead to heart disease among Latinos, like adoption of the U.S. diet, language barriers with healthcare providers, and access to healthy foods or physical activity, and sitting may be contributing as well.
Sitting can also increase the risk of colon, breast, and endometrial cancers. According to the infographic, the causes are unclear to how sitting affects these cancers but states that “one theory is that excess insulin encourages cell growth. Another is that regular movement boosts natural antioxidants that kill cell-damaging— and potentially cancer-causing — free radicals.”
Other health issues that may affect all Americans who sit for long periods of time are neck and shoulder pain, slowed brain function, spine and disk damage in the back, muscle degeneration, poor circulation in legs, soft bones throughout the body, and over-productive pancreas issues which leads to diabetes and other diseases.
However many Americans have jobs or lifestyles that require them to be sedentary for most of the day, so what can we do to decrease these health risks? The study suggests practicing correct posture techniques, sitting on an exercise ball, doing regular stretches of hips and back, alternate between sitting and standing at your workstation, trying yoga poses, and frequently getting up from your desk for a short walk.
To read more and download the infographic, click here.