Sitting in a chair for too long has health risks. Research shows that prolonged sitting increases the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and boosts the risk of dying prematurely. Now research offers another reason why you should get up out of your chair and move around. A new study suggests that prolonged sitting may increase the size of your bottom due to the mechanical pressure the seat places on your buttocks. Staying glued to a chair all day has some definite disadvantages.
Prolonged Sitting: Will It Give You a Fat Bottom?
Researchers at Tel Aviv University recently discovered that growth of fat cells is increased when they’re stretched, and this stretching mimics what happens to fat cells in the buttocks area when people sit in a chair too long. When fat cells from mice were stretched to duplicate what happens when people sit in a chair, these fat cells under pressure produced almost 50% more fat and became larger in size.
Before reassuring yourself that this was only a mouse study, researchers have found evidence of fat cell stretching in humans too. When researchers looked at imaging studies of people who are paralyzed and unable to get up and move around, they found their fat cells had stretched due to the pressure of lying and sitting too much. It seems that fat cells form new fat droplets when they’re exposed to repeated mechanical pressure and weight that causes them to stretch and change shape. That makes too much sitting bad from a number of standpoints. Doing squats and lunges at the gym may not be enough to compensate for the bottom-expanding effects of too much sitting.
Find More Reasons to Move Around
If you have an office job, it’s important to not stay glued to your chair for long periods of time. Prolonged sitting is not only bad for your heart, but it affects your “bottom line” as well. Put a timer on your desk and set it to go off every 30 minutes to remind yourself to get up and walk around or do some stretching exercises. Take a stroll around the building or walk up and down the stairs a few times every half hour or so. When you take a break, do a few sets of squats using your body weight to “wake up” your gluteus muscles and “unstretch” the fat cells that overly them.
Even better, adjust the height of your computer monitor by placing it on a stack of books so you can work while standing up. Some offices are also offering their employees treadmill desks so they can work while walking at a slow pace. Sitting for long periods of time is one of the worst things you can do for your health. It even increases the risk of blood clots.
The Bottom Line?
Now you have another reason to move around more during the day. Prolonged sitting boosts your risk for health problems like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. If that isn’t enough to get you out of the chair, think about what it’s doing to the fat cells in your buttocks. Then start moving.
Shoham N, Gottlieb R, Shaharabani-Yosef O, et al. Static Mechanical Stretching Accelerates Lipid Production in 3T3-L1 Adipocytes by Activating the MEK Signaling Pathway. American Journal of Physiology-Cell Physiology. September 27, 2011.