Sitting Down Too Much? Why Sitting and Bone Density Don't Mix

If you sit down during most of the day, or for many consecutive hours, it's time to make changes for the sake of your bones and health. There is a negative link between sitting and bone density. Especially for women.

In fact, new and shocking evidence shows that hours of sitting is significantly detrimental to women's bone density.

This is a huge public health problem considering that many adults sit for 13 or more hours per day including 8-10 work hours,  1-2 commute hours, and 3+ evening hours (1).

For women, it's crucial to make changes: These studies show that women lose bone density based on the number of consecutive hours sitting and regardless of activity outside of hours sitting. What's more, men don't seem to have the same problem as long as they engage in exercise and activity otherwise.

Here's what you need to know and sitting and bone density, and how you can improve bone health.

Sitting and Bone Density in Women: The Study

It's long been known that sedentary activity is a risk factor for poor bone health. In fact, there's been some indication that from childhood through advanced age, sitting can negatively affect bone density and health.

However, a recent study highlights just how bad it is for women specifically (2).

Published in 2014, this study assessed the bone density and sedentary behavior of thousands of individuals between the ages of 23-90+ years.

What did they find?

Sitting and Bone Density in Women: The Results

The results are shocking.

Sedentary behavior did not affect bone density loss in men. However, vigorous activity outside of sedentary hours does improve bone health in men.

Amazingly, women's repeated exposure to sitting (sedentary behavior) in daily life negatively affected bone density in the total femur and all sub-region hip measurements.

What's more, these results were independent of the amount of time women engage in moderate and vigorous activity.

In fact, the duration of sitting was specifically linked to bone density loss in women, and it increased with every 10-minute increment of sedentary behavior.

Sitting and Health: Other Negative Outcomes

Although sitting and bone density seems to be most problematic for women, men aren't off the hook. Many poor health outcomes are associated with sedentary behavior. These include:

  • Loss of muscle strength and flexibility (3)
  • Reduced exercise benefits for metabolism (4)
  • Memory decline and poorer brain function
  • Fewer hours and poorer quality of sleep (5)
  • Negative effects on lung function and cardiovascular health (6)
  • Weight gain and sluggish metabolism (7)
  • Accelerated aging and increased disease prevalence (8)

What to Do About Too Much Sitting

It's a tough situation. The modern world, modern commutes, and modern work often require us to sit and be sedentary for long periods of time.

So, we must be proactive to combat the negative effects by standing and engaging in activity more, even while at a desk. To reduce consecutive hours, try:

  • Installing a standing or treadmill desk
  • If your co-workers are willing, walking and talking for meetings rather than sitting
  • Getting up every 2 hours for a 5-minute walk around the office or outside the building
  • Taking 15 minutes to walk before work, during lunch, and after work
  • Standing and stretching every hour
  • Foregoing the elevator and taking the stairs
  • Instead of calling or emailing, walking and talking to co-workers

Bottom Line

Sometimes it feels silly to set timers for activity throughout the day. But, our bodies and bones are simply not designed to sit all day.

When you look at the evidence, sitting and bone density are negatively correlated in women. Consecutive hours of sitting and health are negatively correlated in all humans.

Get up and move for your bones and whole-body health. In addition, you can improve bone health with the full  Silical System today. Don't just sit there, get started!

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