Does Sitting Cause Belly Fat?

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Chiropractor Explains How Sitting Leads to Belly Fat

It can be hard to acknowledge how long you genuinely sit down each day. But when you start actually collecting the data by timing yourself, you’ll undoubtedly be shocked. Think about it, when you’re at home, work, or meeting with friends, the most common thing we do is sit. That leads us on to this one important question, does sitting cause belly fat? 

As a general rule, sitting can cause belly fat. But not just belly fat, but fat in general. When you’re seated, you burn fewer calories, making you susceptible to gaining weight. As mentioned in the International Journal of Obesity, people who suffer from weight gain tend to sit more. 

From the above, you should be able to visualize whether or not sitting causes belly fat. It can, but sitting for too long can increase your fat levels around your entire body, it’s not just targeted towards your belly. However, with most genetics, the belly is the largest and best area for your body to store fat. 

With thirty years of experience designing products to promote core muscle engagement, this article might be of use to you if you want to avoid belly fat from sitting. 

Does Sitting Cause Belly Fat?

sitting causing fat

After becoming knowledgeable on the above, you should now be aware that sitting can cause belly fat. If you want to understand this further, please read the below reasons why. 

Fewer Calories Burned 

The most prominent reason you gain belly fat is that you’re not burning any calories while sitting. Don’t get me wrong, other daily activities you do like walking, standing, and even fidgeting will burn some calories. However, this just isn’t enough (in most cases) to burn enough calories to maintain a belly shape. 

To gain a better perspective of how sitting can cause belly fat is through this study. It’s suggested that agricultural workers can burn 1,000 or more calories each day than someone primarily working at a desk. This is a substantial amount, and over a long time, you may experience belly fat due to sitting down. 

Needless to say, there are exercises and other daily routines you can implement into your lives to reduce this from becoming problematic (we discuss this below).  

Increase Weight Gain 

Because you burn fewer calories, it means one thing. You’re likely to gain additional weight, and especially in the belly region. As we know from the above study, people that have obesity are sat for two hours longer each day. This is a crazy statistic, and it goes to show, sitting may be causing the issue. 

However, weight gain only becomes an issue when sitting if you’re eating too many calories for how much you’re burning. If you eat the right amount of food for the activities and exercise you do daily, then weight gain won’t occur. But, because of the nature of sitting down in comfort, many people indulge while sitting somewhere. 

Decreases Mobility 

Something else that can cause belly fat from sitting is the decrease in mobility you’ll experience. When seating, people don’t activate their muscles commonly. Because of this, they become less mobile, weaker, and almost deactivate themselves when needed. 

You’ll find that it’s harder to lose belly fat or undergo day-to-day activities from the above occurring. 

As you can see, there are various reasons why you’ll gain belly fat while sitting. However, there is also an abundance of different prevention methods you can opt-in for to stop this from occurring. If you’re wanting to develop some knowledge about how to stop belly fat from occurring while sitting, you need to read the below: 

How to Prevent Sitting Causing Belly Fat 

Are you finding yourself constantly sitting down for work, with friends, or at home? Then you may need to include some of the below prevention methods to ensure you don’t gain belly fat while sitting. 

1.Consider Walking 

woman walking to reduce weight

Always consider walking as a mode of transport. If you drive to work, ask yourself, “is this walkable?”. In most events, it is. However, if you cannot walk to work, I’m sure you’re given breaks throughout the day or on lunch. If that’s the case, simply consider going for a walk. This won’t just decrease the chances of belly fat occurring while sitting, but it’ll give you an abundance of physical and mental benefits. 

Remember, this shouldn’t just be considered during work. You can also think about walking to a friend’s house, a shop, the library, and many other places if they’re easily accessible through walking.  

2.Change Your Office Layout 

home office

If you are stuck in an office, you can increase your step count by rearranging the layout. For example, if you have a printer on your desk and you commonly use it. Consider placing it on the other side of the room. Although this doesn’t seem practical, it’s undoubtedly a way in which you can increase your step count and movement throughout the day. 

By doing this, you’ll ultimately burn more calories and reduce weight increase. Not just from walking, but getting out of your chair, getting the paperwork, and many more activities while standing can all help burn much-needed calories. 

3. Be Creative with Sitting 

The above sounds somewhat questionable, and I’m aware of that. However, becoming creative with your sitting won’t just help increase mobility and muscle activation, but it’ll also help burn calories. For example, you are sitting on an exercise ball for short periods of the day. You’ll indicate the core by doing this, as you’ll try to keep yourself upright and balanced. 

4. Set a Timer 

Something else you should consider is setting a timer for how long you’re sitting. This way, every hour or so, you can stand up and complete a whole two minutes of constant movement. Now, whether this will be jumping jacks, press-ups, or squats, all will help with mobility and burn calories.

If you can’t perform any of the above, maybe just have a quick stroll to increase your step count. Doing this won’t only decrease the possibilities of belly fat occurring, but it’ll also reactivate your brain and make you stimulate ideas better.  

5. Use an Orthopedic Seat Cushion

By sitting on a well-designed seat cushion, you will achieve better alignment between the torso and the upper legs. As a result, the cushions pull the spine inwards and tilt the pelvis forward. This increases your stability, reduces spinal stress, and enables you to sit up straight and disperse your weight into your core muscles rather than your spine. You can actually exercise while seated this way.

man sitting on a natural latex seat cushion for back pain

Here are my suggestions:

  1. Use only latex foam.  Natural latex has the best resiliency (bounciness) and comfort (It’s non-toxic as well!)
  2. Avoid memory foam!  Memory foam sits hot, can be toxic, and I believe creates too many unfavourable pressure points while seated.
  3. Make sure that your seat wedge cushion has 2 layers:  a comfort top layer and a higher density base support layer.

6. Use a Step Tracker 

man using step tracker to reduce weight gain from sitting

Lastly, either download a step tracker application on your phone or invest in one. From buying a step tracker, you can start, of course, tracking your steps. This motivates many people to get their recommended steps each day. Although everyone’s goals will be highly different, it’s advised that you walk around 10,000 steps each day, and achieving this will be superb. 

Takeaway

After reading the above, you should now understand the answer to “does sitting cause belly fat”. Now, after finding out it can contribute towards it, I’m sure you’re eager to start reducing the chances of this becoming problematic. If so, great. We’ve also mentioned some great prevention methods which you can start implementing today, hassle-free. 

So, now you understand this, will you be implementing the above prevention methods? 

Sources

  1. Basterfield, Laura, et al. “Physical activity, sedentary behavior, and adiposity in English children.” American journal of preventive medicine 42.5 (2012): 445-451.
  2. Chaput, Jean-Philippe, Lars Klingenberg, and Anders Sjödin. “Do all sedentary activities lead to weight gain: sleep does not.” Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care 13.6 (2010): 601-607.
  3. Golubic, Rajna, et al. “Physical activity, sedentary time and gain in overall and central body fat: 7-year follow-up of the ProActive trial cohort.” International journal of obesity 39.1 (2015): 142-148.

 

 

**As a service to our readers, Axial Chairs provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of the last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.

 

 

**As a service to our readers, Axial Chairs provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of the last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.
Dr Lawrence Woods DC

Dr Lawrence Woods DC

Founder

My goal is to create the highest quality ergonomic office chairs and accessories for unmatched comfort.

With 30 years of spinal healthcare experience in Ireland as a chiropractor, I learned the value of high-quality sitting for living a happy and healthy life.

I have a Chiropractic Degree from Life Chiropractic College West and I am NBCE Physiotherapy certified.

 

Dr Lawrence Woods

My goal is to create the highest quality ergonomic office chairs and accessories for unmatched comfort. With 30 years of spinal healthcare experience as a chiropractor, I learned the value of high-quality sleep for living a happy and healthy life. I have a Chiropractic Degree from Life Chiropractic College West and am NBCE Physiotherapy certified.

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