You’re not a couch potato. You routinely exercise at least three times each week. You eat healthy, or at least reasonably healthy, and you don’t smoke. However, when you’re at work or at home you have a nasty habit of sitting down for long periods of time. How bad that can be? After all, it’s already been established that you exercise; right? Well, it turns out that all that sitting most likely negates the exercise.
An article on CNN.com titled, Sitting will kill you, even if you exercise, references a new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine that found that this kind of sedentary behavior increases our chances of getting a disease or a condition that will kill us prematurely, even if we exercise. In fact, the World Health Organization has identified that being inactive physically is the fourth-leading risk factor for death for people worldwide.
So is sitting the new smoking? In the CNN article, researchers from Toronto came to this conclusion after analyzing nearly 50 sedentary behavior studies. Illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and Type 2 diabetes all increase with being sedentary. And for people who sit more than 12 hours each day -- also called prolonged sitting – their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes increased by a whopping 90%. Ninety percent! Think about that and add up all the time you sit down -- commuting to and from work, working at your desk, watching TV, using the computer at home, or even playing with your kids on the floor all contribute to this time of sedentary behavior.
Granted, the studies did find that the amount of time someone exercises impacts the negativity of sitting, but that being sedentary still outweighs the benefit we get from exercising. Now that you’re armed with this information, how can you reduce the time you sit down?
The first thing to do is be aware of how much you’re sitting and make a note of it. Then, you can have a goal of reducing that number a little each week. You can do this by getting up and walking around every 30 minutes at work. Play with your kids involving activities that require physical activity. If you watch TV, rather than remain seated during the commercials, or fast-forwarding past them with your DVR, stand up and keep walking until they’re over.
Whatever furniture you sit on, whether it’s your chair, couch, chaise lounge, ottoman, recliner, stool, bench, sofa, love seat, or even your bed, they are all working against your health. So stop sitting and get up!