For those of us with jobs that keep us seated for a good part of the day, this is news you might want to take sitting down.
According to a recent article in the New York Post which references the Institute of Medicine and Public Health’s recent poll, we spend an average of 56 hours a week sitting at our desks, in our cars, or lounging potato style on our couches. This has triggered a new medical study on inactivity physiology, which explores the effect of this sedentary lifestyle on our health.
We are designed to stand upright and move. When we sit for extended periods of time, our bodies start to shut down at the metabolic level. Circulation slows and fewer calories are burned. According to the study, for every 2 hours spent sitting the chance of contracting diabetes goes up by 7%. Risk for heart disease rises when enzymes that keep blood fats in check become inactive.
Remaining seated has also been found to cause tightening and weakening of the spine and other key muscles.
But that is not the scary part. Even if we work out daily, we are not immune to these effects! Apparently, 10 hours a day of being sedentary can out weigh the 30-60 minutes of exercise that is recommended for good health.
You mean I work out everyday and walk 1-2 hours a day for transportation purposes, and I am still considered sedentary? Wow, that’s harsh news!
So what do we do? Find ways to move. Get up every hour and stretch a little. Walk down the hall to your colleague instead of emailing or calling them. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Stand up when you talk on the phone. Take a short walk at lunchtime if you can. Simple movement will get the blood flowing and move the larger muscle groups and prevent tightness.
Nothing will replace a good vigorous workout for health benefits, weight management and mood enhancement, but random acts of fitness just might save our lives.
“Move it or lose it”!!
photo: Glasshouse Images