Thanks to modern furniture, we have the ability to sit and lie down more comfortably than our primitive ancestors. But is being too comfortable a little too good to be true? As it turns out, spending prolonged periods of time in these comfortable positions is actually taking time off your life.
Here’s how being too comfortable can harm your health and potentially kill you.
Sitting in a chair lowers your calorie burn
Sure, standing for too long will give you sore muscles. However, The Daily Beast tells us standing for eight hours a day also burns upward 160 calories, “the equivalent of a half-hour walk.” By contrast, you burn 20 fewer calories for every hour you sit, whether that’s at your work desk or on your couch.
Next: You have no idea how bad your chair really is.
What chairs do to our muscles
The Daily Beast also tells us sitting for too long, even in a recliner, is bad for your muscles. “Muscles deteriorate in response to prolonged periods of inactivity by losing muscle fibers, especially the slow-twitch fibers that provide endurance,” it reports. The lack of movement can cause your legs to fatigue more easily, and poor posture caused by reclining chairs affects your abdominal muscles.
Next: Heck, you aren’t even safe when you sleep!
How your mattress plays a role
Think a mattress being too comfortable can’t hurt you? Think again. While the perfect mattress ensures that you get a good night’s sleep, one that’s too comfortable is actually doing your muscles damage. In fact, a too-soft mattress can make chronic back pain worse because it doesn’t offer the spine enough support. And a spine that is out of alignment can lead to many problems, such as metabolism issues and stress management.
Next: Prolonged time in bed? Even worse.
Bed rest isn’t even a good thing
The National Center for Biotechnology Information shows us a study on patients on bed rest after medical procedures. The study found none of the test subjects’ conditions improved by being on bed rest. In some cases, the patients’ conditions actually became worse from being bedridden. (To be clear, the study also said follow-up studies should be done before making a definitive claim.)
Next: What happens to your insides?
The effect on your organs
That’s right: Sitting for too long can cause organ damage. In addition to your muscles, prolonged sitting or lying has long-lasting effects on your heart, The Washington Post says. The formation of blood clots can affect oxygen getting to your brain and can hurt its function. Inactivity of your muscles and cells can also cause your pancreas to overproduce insulin, which can lead to diabetes.
Next: And it doesn’t stop at diabetes.
Here’s where sitting for too long, even if it’s in a recliner, can really hurt you. A CBS report reveals that prolonged sitting and lying can result in an early death. Diabetes and heart disease are just a couple of the ways that too much time without movement can cut your life short.
Next: But don’t fret just yet — there’s hope.
What you can do differently
There are steps you can take to prevent these factors from shortening your life. If you have to sit for long periods of time for work, make a conscious effort to get up and stand for periods, as well. And if you’re sitting, have a chair that helps you maintain good posture. Instead of reclining on your couch all weekend watching Netflix, get up and take a brisk walk, so the blood can flow from your brain all the way down through your leg muscles.
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