Okay so we have some pretty bad news. Are you sitting down right now? Odds are, if you’re not sleeping, you probably are. You’re at your desk or on your couch and why not? Well, it turns out that our sedentary lifestyles are really starting to catch up with us.
The average person spends 9.5 hours a day sitting. That’s 66.5 hours a week or 3,458 hours a year!¹
It’s become a serious problem. This level of inactivity increases your likelihood of developing a ton of different health conditions. Sitting all day increases your risk of developing diabetes by 112 percent and of having a heart attack or stroke by 147 percent. Add the risk of obesity and certain cancers and our comfortable lives start to look a little less appealing. We really try to avoid extremes when writing on these topics but the most conservative statistic we found indicates that a sedentary life increases your risk of death by any unnatural cause by 20-35%.²
It’s time to talk about it.
Here’s the issue. Many of the current studies indicate that getting 30-60 minutes of moderate to intense exercise a day isn’t enough to reverse the effects sitting has on us.³ We’ve got to find a way to do more. Get up and move. Whether you’re at work or at home, there are lots of ways to avoid that dreaded chair. Start taking walking meetings. If your workplace offers standing desks, get one. Watch less TV. Walk your dog (look at them, don’t they look like they want to go?).
Being more active has a bunch of added benefits
Sitting less = more calories burnt. Keep an eye on your nutrition and this means healthy weight loss and more energy. The muscles we use when standing and moving are related to processes that breakdown fat and sugar in your body. Sitting more stalls these processes and, of course, increases your health risks. Include some more intense physical fitness and now your routine is starting to look very well rounded. Though exercise alone isn’t enough to eliminate the stress caused by sitting, those that went from unhealthy to fit within a five-year period saw 20-35% decreases in their risk of death by unnatural causes.4 Developing healthy habits can start with something as simple as getting up from your desk and walking to that person you were about to email.
The more of us awkwardly standing at our desks, the less strange it’s going to seem! Let’s all work towards a healthier tomorrow.
1. When does Occupational Sitting Become a Health Hazard? – Overview – Workplace Health | City of Toronto. (n.d.). Retrieved October 18, 2016, from http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=5ad4e1ae90248410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD
2. – Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. (n.d.). Retrieved October 18, 2016, from http://www.heartandstroke.com/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=ikIQLcMWJtE
3. Ubelacker, S. (2015). Sitting for too long can kill you, even if you exercise: Study. Retrieved October 18, 2016, from http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/sitting-for-too-long-can-kill-you-even-if-you-exercise-study-1.2918678
4.Canadian Medical Association Journal. (n.d.). Retrieved October 18, 2016, from http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/content/full/174/6/801/DC1