If you perform a job that involves sitting at a desk, or you sit for long periods of time studying or watching television, you could be setting yourself up for a number of adverse health risks. Worse, some recent studies have shown that exercise might not help you overcome some of the effects of sitting too much at work or home.
Prolonged periods of sitting on a regular basis has been shown to be linked to a number of chronic medical problems such as obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
People who sit many hours a day have a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. It is believed that blood flow is more sluggish and that less fatty acids are burned while sitting, and these factors contribute to heart disease.
Likewise, with sedentary behavior, brain function is thought to slow as well. If so, it could at least somewhat explain reports of worse mental health among sedentary people.
Since weight-bearing activities are thought to increase bone strength, a lack of physical activity could weaken bones. Herniated discs in the lumbar spine are thought to occur in people who sit often as well.
While the exact relationship is not well understood, people who sit also appear to have higher rates for breast, endometrial and colon cancers.
Finally, sitting too much is thought to carry an increased mortality risk. In fact, people who watch many hours of television each day have elevated risks of dying compared to people who watch less than one hour per day.