Is It More Dangerous For A Man Or A Woman To Live A More Sedentary Lifestyle?

It's no secret that sitting all day has some serious health ramifications. In fact, there are some pretty scary repercussions to not getting enough movement. MedlinePlus reports that inactivity can lead to Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, depression, and metabolic syndrome. In fact, Better Health suggests that sitting could be "the new smoking."

James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative, explained this severity in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. "Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV, and is more treacherous than parachuting," says Levine. "We are sitting ourselves to death. The chair is out to kill us."

Why is sitting so dangerous? It can seriously mess with your metabolism. Since your metabolism is what converts the food you eat into energy, it can be dangerous when it gets out of whack. You may have heard buzz around boosting your metabolism to help with fitness, but many may need to work on their metabolism for the basic health needs (via Cleveland Clinic).

Sitting too much has serious consequences

When you move too little and intake too much sugar, you can develop something called insulin resistance. Basically, insulin tells your pancreas to convert dietary sugars into energy. When those cells become resistant to insulin, Mayo Clinic endocrinologist Eleanna De Filippis explains that it can be serious.

"With insulin resistance, the cells don't react, and don't open up, resulting in excessive sugar in the blood," says De Filippis. "Over time, the pancreas keeps trying to regulate the blood sugar, producing more and more insulin until it wears out and can't produce large amounts of insulin anymore. As a result, blood sugar levels increase to the point of being in the diabetic range."

Like with many health issues, this problem can affect men and women differently. In fact, studies have shown that women are more protected against insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes than men.

A protein can fight insulin resistance

A protein in the skeletal muscle, PTEN, is part of what prevents insulin from communicating properly. The lead author in this study, Dr. M. Constantine Samaan, told McMaster University that women are more protected from Type 2 diabetes than men (via WebMD). "In our study, women's muscle appeared more efficient in neutralizing this protein, and this allows insulin to work better to move sugar from circulation to muscle," says Samaan.

Samaan explains that even though women are more likely to carry more body fat, this protein keeps them safer from diabetes risks than men. Thankfully, there are steps you can take (literally) to prevent diabetes. Medical News Today suggests things like "taking walks during lunch breaks" or "taking the stairs instead of using the elevator" as ways to get a little more exercise each day. You could even cut back from eating too much sugar. Even the smallest steps can keep health problems from catching up to you.