Until just recently, if you exercised for at least 60 minutes a day, you were considered physically active. Now, new research suggests it is entirely possible to meet current physical activity guidelines while still being incredibly sedentary. Furthermore, that simply the act of excessive sitting increases your risk of disease and even death, even with regular exercise. In the same way that smoking is bad for you even with regular exercise, so too is the simple inaction of sitting.
Research has linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns, including obesity, increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, abnormal cholesterol levels, and increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer. One recent study compared adults who spent less than two hours a day in front of the TV with those who logged more than four hours a day of recreational screen time. Those with greater screen time had:
Nearly 50% increased risk of death from any cause!
125% increased risk of events associated with cardiovascular disease, such as chest pain (angina) or heart attack!
I think it’s clear that sitting for too long is bad for us, but with many desk jobs or jobs that require a lot of driving or flying, what are we to do? What options do we have?
Here are some ideas to help:
Stand while talking on the phone or eating lunch.
If you work at a desk for long periods of time, try a standing desk — or improvise with a high table or counter.
Walk laps with your colleagues for meetings rather than sitting in conference rooms.
Make sure to take “standing breaks” every 30 minutes throughout the day.
Walk around your house during the commercials of your favorite television show.
Movement is the key to health. Breaks, even as short as one minute, can make drastic changes in how you feel and prevention from a number of illnesses.
So stand up already!
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