Too Much Sitting is Bad for your Health
Hours of uninterrupted sitting can be bad for your health, according to a growing body of medical research.
- A recent study from the American Cancer Society reported that the more leisure time people spent sitting was associated with a higher risk of death. Women who reported sitting for more than six hours per day were about 40% more likely to die during the course of the 14-year study than those who sat for fewer than three hours per day. Men were about 20% more likely to die.
- A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology showed that sitting for long stretches, more than six hours a day, can make someone at least 18% more likely to die from diabetes, heart disease and obesity than those sitting less than three hours a day.
Even if you exercise for 30 minutes a day, five days per week, it may not be enough to counteract the effects of too much sitting during the rest of the day. If you exercise for 30 minutes and sleep for eight hours, that still leaves 15.5 hours in the day. If you have a sedentary job and engage in sedentary activities after work, you are sitting a lot more than moving.
Health experts say the key to staying healthier is to integrate movement into your day as much as possible. The human body is made to move. When you sit for an extended period of time, your body starts to shut down at the metabolic level, negatively influencing things like triglycerides, high density lipoprotein, cholesterol, fasting plasma glucose, resting blood pressure, and leptin, all of which are biomarkers of obesity, cardiovascular disease and other diseases.
How to sit less and move more at work
If you find yourself sitting for hours on end, interrupt your patterns. Stand up, move around and get your blood flowing for at least a few minutes every hour. Other suggestions:
- Stand or move around when talking on the phone
- Walk to a colleague to talk rather than sending an email
- Hold a walking meeting with a colleague
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Use the restroom or water fountain on a different floor
- Move your trash can or printer further away from your desk so you need to get off your chair to access them
- Increase your walking. Buy a pedometer and build up to 10,000 steps per day
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