We all know that physical activity is important for health. But did you know that sitting is killing you? The data is solid; prolonged sitting is unhealthy and it doesn’t matter whether that stillness is in front of a television or a desk, at home or work, at the table or a drive through, or in a car or airplane. The longer you sit in a day the higher your risk of premature death no matter your workout routine. Sitting, it would seem, is an independent pathology. Being sedentary for nine hours a day at the office is bad for your health whether you go home and watch television afterward or hit the gym. Excessive sitting is a lethal activity.
This may seem like a shocking statement, however recent research studies have linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns. Obesity, metabolic syndrome, increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat and abnormal cholesterol levels are associated back to sitting.
In a recent article published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers looked at risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease and diabetes, including waist circumference, body mass index, and cholesterol levels in 4,550 American adults. After considering other factors such as sex, race and activity levels, findings showed that increased risks were present in subjects reporting as little as four hours of sitting a day. Even diet and exercise didn’t offer much help, although the researchers from Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, did find that risk factors and sitting time were stronger in people who didn’t exercise.
Are you sitting down? The mounting evidence on the health hazards of sitting are troubling, especially for those in careers requiring long hours at the desk. In fact, as I am writing this article I have adjusted my desk height to standing.
The reality of the situation is many of you have to sit in your occupations. In fact, fewer jobs today require you to move your body. As a whole, we are sitting more than ever before in history, approximately 9.3 hours a day, even more than we spend sleeping, which is an average of 7.7 hours. Sitting for eight hours a day at your job may be inevitable, however it’s the extra sitting outside of work that adds to the problem. Interestingly, between 1980 and 2000, exercise rates have stayed about the same while sitting time has increased by eight per cent.
Sitting wrecks your body. People with sitting jobs have twice the rate of cardiovascular disease as people with standing jobs. As well, sitting expends almost no energy. As soon as you sit the electrical activity in the leg muscles shuts off and calorie burning drops to almost nothing.
Your body is built to move. Unfortunately with modern conveniences and technology you really don’t have a reason to move unless you purposely build it into your lifestyle. The next generation will be worse off. Just watch your children as they engage in life through their computers, phones and tablets. We need to make a conscious effort to stand up and move.
The recommended 30 minutes of activity per day is not enough. You need to interrupt sitting whenever you can. Not only for burning calories, (walking, by the way, burns three to five times the calories that sitting does), but for increasing the length of your life. In addition, the role of muscle contraction in optimal health is much more sophisticated then once believed. When muscles work they have an affect on the overall function of the endocrine system and human physiology in general.
The cartilage in the joints and intervertebral discs in the spine require mechanical forces for nourishment and waste product removal. Without movement, these tissues begin to deteriorate, resulting in osteoarthritis and degenerative disc disease. Many are surprised to realize that movement prevents arthritis rather than contributes to it.
These new findings have spurred on a growing interest in sitstand workstations; stand up desks and treadmill desks. This would be fantastic however it may not be an option for you immediately. Making a conscious effort to reduce the amount of time sitting will help decrease your risks. Take standing breaks frequently, stand while talking on the phone and eating lunch, and walk whenever possible.
Gone are the days that good etiquette is sitting still when in a meeting, at dinner or any other time you are sitting. Start fidgeting as much as possible! Stand up to the silent killer of sitting.
Source: BY HELEN VANDERBURG, FOR THE CALGARY HERALD NOVEMBER 20, 2013
Activ8 monitors when and how long you are sitting
With the Activ8 Physical Activity Monitor you can see in detail when and how long people have been sitting. You get a good insight in how much you really sit during the day. Via the Activ8 you can set the so-called sit timer: whenever you sit longer then the set time, an alarm will inform you that its time for a little break: walk to the printer, get a cup of coffee or go out for a short walk.