If you’re reading this – it’s probably not uncommon knowledge to you that more sitting is bad. I mean, children sit more, adults sit more, we eat more (crap), and Westerners are still getting more and more obese. Prolonged sitting can have obvious detrimental effects on our health but now research is coming out showing how soon those changes can start to have an effect on our bodies – as young as seven years of age. Two recent studies shed some more light on why you should get your children moving and keep them from sitting.
Two Recent Studies Showing Why You Should Keep Your Children Moving
Nine girls ages seven to ten were looked at and found that a period of sitting (defined as watching movies or playing in iPads) for three hours caused a thirty-three percent reduction in the ability of the arteries that carry blood to the legs to dilate. Dilation is the process of arteries opening. Open arteries causes blood (nutrients) to get to where they’re needed (1).
The good news of the study:
Breaking up the sitting once an hour with ten minute activity prevented the thirty-three percent reduction of blood flow to the arteries of the legs.
What was considered activity? Ten minutes of stationary cycling.
A study out of the University of Eastern Finland looked at one hundred and sixty children ages six to eight years old. The study looked at level of physical activity, physical fitness, and body fat. Just like the first study, this study found that those with higher body fat and lower physical fitness capability had decreased arterial dilation than those who were more physically active and less in body fat (2).
The significance of all of this: arterial wall stiffness and reduced arterial dilation are the first signs of cardiovascular disease that can be measured. I would imagine that physical activity later on in life reduces the effects of prolonged sitting during younger years but why wait to make up for bad habits that were made as a child? Get your children started on the right track.
1. Ansilie, P., Green, D., Lewis, N., McManus, A., Simair, R., Smith, K. “Impact Of Prolonged Sitting On Vascular Function In Young Girls.” Experimental Physiology. 7 October 2015. Web. 26 October 2015.
2. Haapala, E., Laitinen, T., Lakka, T., Lindi, V., Lintu, N., Veijalainen, A., Vitasalo, A. “Associations Of Cardiorespiratory Fitness, Physical Activity, and Adiposity With Arterial Stiffness In Children.” Scandinavian Journal Of Medicine and Science in Sports. 29 July 2015. Web. 26 October 2015