Dr. Marcum: To Sit Or Not To Sit, That Is The Question

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - by James L. Marcum
Dr. James Marcum
Dr. James Marcum

The USA Today has recently reported on a new health concern in a January 2014 circulation article. There are significant health risks associated with sitting too long. I have long told my patients the value of movement and how it changes the chemistry of the entire body for the good. Now I am going to add that sitting for more than an hour at a time can stress the body and poses risk. This study followed more than 84,000 men over eight years and found that sitting more than 5 hours a day increased the risk of heart failure 53%. Regular exercise did not reduce one’s risk from sitting. Dr. Young’s study only included men from the ages of 45-69, but this data surely can be extrapolated to women. Older individuals have even greater risk. This is a major risk. Taking medication will not reduce the risk of heart failure to this degree.

A sedentary lifestyle has long been associated with greater health risks. Remember, we were not designed to sit. Older studies have suggested that each hour of sitting raises the risk of heart failure 18%. If you think of all the sitting that goes on in our world, the desk jobs, computer terminals, those driving – especially the truckers, the airplane trips, sitting in your place of worship, going to school all day, the couch potatoes, and yes even you who are reading this article are probably sitting. What about our youth? Many of them sit long hours at school. I am sure the health risks accumulate over years. Do we need an overhaul of our entire culture?

What does sitting actually do? Without getting too complicated, prolonged sitting changes our metabolism negatively. We are more likely to get type 2 diabetes which damages blood vessels and other parts of the body. In addition, our venous circulation becomes more stagnant. We have all heard about those who ride a long time in the car or plane having a blood clot in the leg which can move to the lungs. Pulmonary embolisms can be fatal! In addition sitting can cause hip and spinal problems. Think about this. When we sit with poor posture, we become a C–shaped spine instead of an S-shaped spine. This can lead to back problems especially increasing the workload of the lower back. Many of the back problems are the result of sitting and the bad posture produced over long periods of time.

It is estimated that half of all people sit more than six hours a day. Even if these people are in active exercise programs they still have the added risk of diabetes, heart failure, vein problems, and back issues when sitting too long. What can we do?

For one, an awareness, and perhaps a timer on the belt might be a good starting point. In all seriousness, we must get up and move every hour. Some put devices under the desk to keep the legs moving. I think the place I would start, the first step toward better health would be an awareness. Know how long you have been sitting anywhere, the desk, car, at home, at a restaurant, at church or wherever you are, and when you have sat for an hour, get up and move around, sooner if possible. This will lower your risk of heart disease diabetes, bad veins, blood clots, back problems, and who knows what else. This does make sense as we were not made to sit for prolonged periods.  If we do this, another stressor can be avoided. The closer we move toward our original design, the fewer problems we experience. Medicines and treatments might help the symptoms, but I want us to take another small step forward and improve our health today by making sure we do not sit more than an hour at a time.

Let’s move toward health, one step at a time.

---

James L. Marcum, MD FACC is a behavioral cardiologist practicing with the Chattanooga Heart Institute.  Dr. Marcum serves as speaker/director of HeartWise Ministries, a ministry dedicated to truth, love and healing. In addition to hosting the health television programs:  “Heart of Health LIVE and “Ultimate Prescription”, Dr. Marcum produces a national radio program, “HeartWise”, which is heard  worldwide on over 300 affiliates.  His latest book, Medicines that Kill, published by Tyndale is available in bookstores across America and online. His book Ultimate Prescription has redefined the path to good health. In addition, Dr. Marcum has written for Evangel, Vibrant Life, Signs of the Times and Fresh Outlook. He has appeared on Voice of Salvation with Billy Wilson, DayStar Television with Marcus and Joni Lamb, PBS, Hope Television Network, Fox Family, Amazing Discoveries Three Angels Broadcasting, Trinity Broadcasting Network, and local television promoting a Biblical approach to prevention and treatment of disease. He has been interviewed by Benny Hinn, Chris Fabry,  and Janet Parshall, just to name a few. His seminars have been given nationally. He  has developed a Biblically-based weight management plan. He has been named by USA Today as one of the most influential physicians in the United States. Married with two children, Dr. Marcum is a native of East Tennessee and enjoys music, sports and outdoor activities.

heartwiseministries.org
 



2nd Annual Trivia Night And Silent Auction To Benefit Autism And Behavior Services

Autism & Behavior Services is hosting its second annual Trivia Night and Silent Auction on Saturday, March 3, from 6-10 p.m. on the fourth floor of the Downtown Public Library ( 1001 Broad Street, Chattanooga, TN 37402 ). Guests will be grouped together by tables to create teams. Teams will consist of six players per table who will compete against other teams ... (click for more)

Senate Health And Welfare Committee Approves Legislation To Address Increasing Suicide Rate

The Senate Health and Welfare Committee approved legislation on Wednesday establishing a Tennessee Suicide Mortality Data Review and Prevention Team in the Department of Health to address the growing number of adult suicides in Tennessee.  The Suicide Prevention Act of 2018, which is sponsored by Senate Health and Welfare Committee Chairman Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City), calls ... (click for more)

Report Of Shots Fired At Hamilton Place Mall Sends Crowd Scrambling; No Victims Found

A report of shots fired at Hamilton Place Mall shortly after 6 p.m. on Saturday sent customers at the mall racing out in a panic. Police later said no shooting victims had been found. A call to 911 at 6:07 p.m. said there was an "active shooter." There was a call for EMS to the mall, then another call at 6:10 p.m. of an "active shooter." Those in the vicinity of the mall said ... (click for more)

Signal Facing Decisions On Expanding Commercial Area Past Albert Road, Mountain Community Center And Water Service

The design review committee (DRC) of the town of Signal Mountain is in the process of establishing standards for commercial buildings. In the meantime, developer Bob Elliott would like to buy property at the corner of Taft Highway and Albert Road. Albert Road has traditionally been where the commercial property ends. A number of residents in the neighborhood around that area are ... (click for more)

Legislators: Protect Our Students And Teachers

When students step into their classrooms, they are there to learn and prepare for their future. Our teachers serve to advance each student’s education and guide them towards success.  Educators have an additional responsibility: maintaining the trust and respect of their students by conducting themselves professionally and responsibly. The vast majority of our ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Why CNN Is Gonna Croak

I believe CNN (Cable News Network) has become one of the most disappointing news sources America has ever known in the last five years. The bastions of sound journalism no longer exist as the once-great organization has gone the way of liberal loathing. Its new basis-of-fact cannot be trusted and the overwhelming bias against conservatives in our nation is as morbid as it is frightening. ... (click for more)