You've worried about clothes making you look fat—apparently, you should have worried about chairs actually making you fat. That's because sitting for long stretches can actually make you fatter, scientists have found. Studies suggest that the pressure placed in the butt and hips from sitting too long can generate extra fat in those areas. Tel Aviv University researchers studying MRIs found that preadipocyte cells—the precursors to fat cells—turn into fat cells and produce even more fat to cushion muscles against the pressure of sitting among people paralyzed by spinal injuries. They even found lines of fat cells invading muscle, reports the Telegraph.
Researchers also stretched fat cells to replicate a sedentary lifestyle. They discovered that the cells generated 50% more liquid fat than regular cells. "It appears that long periods of static mechanical loading and stretching, due to the weight of the body when sitting or lying, has an impact on increasing lipid production," said the lead researcher. “These findings indicate that we need to take our cells’ mechanical environment into account as well as pay attention to calories consumed and burned." Though the findings are most relevant to people confined to wheelchairs, they also translate to people with extremely sedentary lifestyles, he warned.