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Is Lying Down As Unhealthy As Sitting?

Sedentary lifestyle can take a toll on your kidneys.

Updated
Health News
3 min read
Are you lying down while reading this? Sit up and take notice 
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We’ve told you before that vegging out in front of the TV, watching a marathon Netflix session of your favourite show, might be all that you need after a hard day’s work, but it is actually killing you. It also makes us wonder, is the sitting posture the culprit or the inactivity that matters when it comes to your health?

Professor John Thyfault, at the University of Kansas Medical Centre in US, who has conducted numerous studies on inactivity, says, it is the inactivity or the sedentary lifestyle, which is the culprit, whether you are sitting or lying down.

Being Lazy Affects Your Cells

The damage is irreversible! (Photo: The Quint)
The damage is irreversible! (Photo: The Quint)

The main issue is that when you sit or lie down, your legs and spine, which contain the largest muscles in the body, are not being used. When you walk, these muscles contract and use the blood sugar to stimulate the release of biochemicals, which lower cholesterol and fasten the metabolic processes.

All this internal activity comes to a standstill when you sit or lie down. The big muscles get into relaxation mode and the level of cholesterol, blood sugar rises.

Also, your cells change into fat cells more quickly and crank out even more fat. Simply put, lying down causes your body to create more fat within your already existing fat cells, so the cells themselves become larger; constantly putting pressure on these bigger cells, causes them to spread out and grow.

Lying down and overall unnecessary sedentary behaviour, is a huge risk factor for kidney diseases too.

In fact an interesting study by Dr Thyfault in 2010, found that even if you are physically active, just a fortnight of being sedentary is enough for your body to develop metabolic problems like insulin resistance. Lying down, has the same detrimental health impact.

Sleep, is of course an exception. Your body needs those 7 to 8 hours of sound sleep in order to repair itself. But when we are awake, the more you move, the better.

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What About Lying Down After a Meal?

Fact or myth: Lying down in the afternoon post your meal is good for your health? (Photo: The Quint)
Fact or myth: Lying down in the afternoon post your meal is good for your health? (Photo: The Quint)

If you sleep after a meal, then that slows down your metabolism and might increase your weight.

But couching in front of the TV post a meal is worse.

Reason: While sleeping, your body slows down but it also enters the repair mode. So most of your organs are resting, the brain is sorting and channelising thoughts.

But when you’re lying down awake, the whole body is in alert mode. If you rest on your tummy, then that can cause the food to rise back up into the food pipe. There is excessive pressure on the diaphragm and putting up your legs can cause heart burn.

So let’s not sugarcoat it: we are born, we couch, we die.

Moral of the story: Take regular walking breaks every hour. 5 to 10 minutes of a stroll won’t hurt your boss. Walking can have huge benefits. And remember what walking did for Mark Zuckerberg? He doled out the $19 billion deal for Whatsapp while he strolled around Silicon Valley.

Also Read: Sitting For Too Long? Your Chair Can Kill You

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