Spending too much time sitting down can increase risk of death, even among people who are otherwise active. A Canadian research team analyzed 47 studies on the health effects of sedentary behavior, and found that people who sat for prolonged periods of time have a higher risk of dying from all causes, even those who exercised regularly!
Why Sitting Can Ruin Your Health
According to study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, more than 60% of people worldwide spend more than three hours a day sitting down. The researchers calculated that sitting time contributed to some 433,000 deaths a year between 2002 and 2011. For the average American, who spends the majority of their waking hours sitting, the health risks are even more acute.
Scientists believe something called endothelial dysfunction may be the major factor behind may of the ill effects of sitting, such as…
- Type-2 diabetes
- Heart disease
- Premature death
Just as muscles can atrophy from lack of use, arterial function can decrease during periods of inactivity. The stability and integrity of your arterial walls depends on the force of blood flowing through them. Increased blood flow promotes a healthy endothelium, and conversely, decreased blood flow during periods of inactivity can result in endothelial dysfunction and a whole host of health problems.
Curcumin Can Improve Blood Flow
Just one hour of sitting cause blood to pool, and blood flow to stagnate. Taking frequent breaks can help counteract that, but outside factors sometimes make that impossible. Fortunately, there are other interventions that can also improve your endothelial function. Studies show that curcumin, the yellow pigment in turmeric, has just as significant an impact on endothelial health as aerobic exercise.
One study published in Nutrition Research compared the effects of curcumin ingestion and aerobic exercise on flow-mediated dilation, an important measure of endothelial function. The participants were divided into three groups: acontrol group, a group that underwent a moderate exercise training program, and a group that ingested curcumin orally. Their endothelial function was measured before and after each intervention. The flow-mediated dilation increased substantially and equally for both the curcumin and exercise groups, while no changes transpired for the control group.
While curcumin can match the impact of exercise, combining the two has an even more potent effect. A pilot study found that combining curcumin with regular exercise improved arterial health more than either exercise or curcumin alone.