Is Sitting the New Smoking?
I hope you’re standing up for this! Turns out that sitting is a dangerous way for us to be spending our time. I know, unfortunate to hear – especially because today the average person spends 9.3 hours sitting each day! And that’s not including the average 7.7 hours that are spent sleeping.These hours quickly add up during normal daily activities such as sitting at your desk at work, driving and watching TV.
Researchers have linked sitting for long periods of time with a variety of health problems, including early death due to cardiovascular disease. As well as an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, obesity, breast cancer and colon cancer.
Apparently, those of you who do include workouts in your weekly routines aren’t off the hook! Unfortunately, those workouts at the gym don’t offset the combined effects of sitting. The solution seems to be to simply stand more and sit less! By standing, you burn 3 times the number of calories per minute compared to sitting, which only burns 1 calorie per minute.
How sitting impacts your body
When you sit, the electrical activity in your leg muscles shuts off. Normal muscle contractions that occur while standing use energy that isn’t need while sitting. Not only does calorie burning drop due to less energy being utilized, but also because of a 90% decrease in the enzymes that help break down fat.
After you have been sitting for 2 hours, good cholesterol drops by 20%. Good cholesterol provides beneficial effects to the by aiding with the removal of bad cholesterol from the arteries. Elevated levels of good cholesterol leads to a decrease in the risk of heart disease and reduces the chance of a heart attack and stroke.
After 24 hours, the effectiveness of insulin in the body decreases by 24%. This leads to a rise in blood sugar levels, which in turn can increase the risk of diabetes.
What are some adjustments that can be made?
Do you take transit to work? Get off a stop or two early and walk the rest of the way!
Do you drive to work? Park farther away and stroll across the parking lot for a little walk.
Waiting for the copy machine to finish? Walk around while you wait for your pages to print.
Adjust some meetings to become ‘walking meetings,’ where you go for a stroll with your colleague instead of sitting down to talk. This can be a great way to get moving while being productive, and research says it helps you to think creatively too! (Check tomorrow for how to plan your own walking meeting!)
Feel like you’re stranded at your desk? Try to interrupt sitting time whenever you can. Do a quick stretch and stand up every hour, or even stand while you take various phone calls!
Small adjustments can make a big difference. These little bursts of aerobic activity during your day will keep you fit and make you feel great! It’s time to Get Up Step Up. Let’s take a stand against sitting – literally!
Don’t forget to check tomorrow for how to plan your own walking meeting!