Sitting is the New Cigarette
Does your job keep you sitting at a computer all day tip-tapping away at a keyboard?
- You’ve got too much work to take a walk at lunch so you eat some microwave fast food at your desk?
- At the end of the day perhaps you’re stuck in traffic on your way to pick up children or driving to check on a family member?
- By the time you get home it is late and you simply want to relax, drink a beer and catch your favorite show before you fall asleep?
I know you!
You’re a little fuller around the waist then you might like, have low energy levels, probably trouble sleeping at night and if you’re over 50 you might be on medication for blood pressure or some other ailment. Allow me to be that little voice in your head telling you to GET UP. I can’t stress it enough to my friends, family and clients; keep moving if you want a better quality of life. Now another research study not only confirms daily physical activity is good but finds moving for an hour a day can counter the hazardous effects of sitting at a desk or watching t-v for 8 hours.
A study in the British journal The Lancet analyzed data from more than 1 million people and 16 studies. It cites more than 65.5 billion dollars spent worldwide on healthcare costs from deaths related to diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer. All associated with inactivity. Past studies concluded the only remedy is for people to stop sitting and get moving. Unsurprisingly, there was no mass exodus from desk jobs or television sets. Not many are willing to quit supporting their families or miss episodes of “Game of Thrones” in favor of their health. But now this new study by researchers at the Norwegian School of Sports Sciences finds you don’t have to stop sitting, you just need to do some moderate activity daily to eliminate or reverse the negative effects.
They considered moderate activity as walking at a brisk pace and biking leisurely.
Something along those same lines could be swimming, line dancing or mowing a big lawn. Elevating your heart rate slightly flexes that muscle keeping it strong. The other benefit is weight control, which affects diabetes. Cancers associated with a sedentary lifestyle are in the colon, endometrial and lungs although the reason seems unclear.
What we know from other research is that the less we move the more stagnant our bodies get. Sitting in a Quasimodo posture for a long period decreases circulation while also stiffening your muscles. While frozen in your hunched posture you’re burning few calories and your heart beats slowly. People who sit more tend to snack more. When those snacks are processed foods high in sugar or fat you know the outcome, excessive weight gain.
This Lancet study is intended to give hope to millions of people doing a lot of sitting and lacking motivation to move. The authors say you don’t have to give up working at a desk or watching t-v and start training like an Olympian.
You simply need to take a break from sitting and be active.
I have a friend who catches up on her shows while walking on the treadmill. Many gyms now have televisions on their treadmills and stationary bikes.
Walking out your front door is easy and cheap. A bike will allow you to go further. You can go alone and take some time for you to think. Or use it as an opportunity to connect to a friend or family member by inviting them along. If it’s good for you, it will be great to motivate someone else to do it too. Make sure you and your fitness partner check with your physician to make sure your exercise of choice is okay.
The Lancet Study: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-07/tl-tlo072616.php
Sedentary and cancer: http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/106/7/dju206.full
Desk jobs are killers: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/desk-jobs-can-be-killers-literally/2013/07/15/ce61f9e8-e59b-11e2-aef3-339619eab080_story.html