Sit­ting too much has a dras­tic ef­fect on your health — but you can stand up and fight back!

Healthy Food Guide (Australia) - - CONTENTS -

Aus­tralians sit for around 10 hours ev­ery day, which has a ma­jor ef­fect on our health — but we can stand up and stay well

You don’t want to be sit­ting down when you read this. A study from the Bri­tish Jour­nal of Sports Medicine re­ports that, on av­er­age, ev­ery hour sit­ting watch­ing TV af­ter the age of 25 re­duces the viewer’s life ex­pectancy by 21.8 min­utes. It’s time to sit up … er … to stand up and take no­tice.


Since the 1950s life has be­come more and more about bums on seats. Sim­ple things changed. The wash­ing came in­doors, as dry­ers re­placed trips to the clothes line. TV taught us to sit down, shut up and watch, while ur­ban-sprawl traf­fic made us sit longer and longer in our cars com­mut­ing to and from jobs that were more of­ten be­hind desks. The lat­est Aus­tralian Health Sur­vey found 80 per cent of Aus­tralians have to do some sit­ting at work.

Even so­cial­is­ing has be­come com­put­erised. A 2017 sur­vey found that Aussies are spend­ing 19 hours a week on Face­book — and time us­ing so­cial me­dia gen­er­ally means time sit­ting down.

So, what can we change to get mov­ing?


Less than half of Aus­tralian adults are suf­fi­ciently ac­tive, ac­cord­ing to the Aus­tralian Healthy Sur­vey.

Mov­ing more can re­ally help you lower your risk of di­a­betes. Stud­ies have shown that by get­ting up ev­ery 20 min­utes and strolling for two min­utes, you can re­duce your blood sugar lev­els by 30 per cent. So, next time you’re on your mo­bile at home or work, stand up or pace around a bit — your body will love it.


There are plenty of other ways you can add ex­tra move­ment to your day. For ex­am­ple, try climb­ing the stairs on ar­rival at work, af­ter lunch, and to meet and talk to col­leagues in­stead of email­ing them.

Or take a tea-break. We al­ready know tea has many health ben­e­fits, but by just tak­ing a break from sit­ting, and go­ing to the kitchen to pour a cuppa — along with the sub­se­quent jour­neys to the loo — you’re mak­ing your top brew an even big­ger health booster.

Sit­ting at your desk or stuck in traf­fic? Squeeze your bot­tom cheeks to­gether so that you rise in your seat, then let go and re­peat. They’re big mus­cles, so keep­ing them ac­tive is key to burn­ing kilo­joules and man­ag­ing blood sugar lev­els. You can also do neck stretches and shoul­der rolls to help im­prove pos­ture.


TV’s a prob­lem? In­stead of sit­ting through the ad breaks when you’re watch­ing the box, use them to get mov­ing. Do a few stretches, wa­ter the plants, put on a load of wash­ing, or take out the rub­bish.

And next time you’re tak­ing public trans­port, pre­tend there are no seats on the bus or train and stand up for part of the trip. Or hop off a stop early and walk the re­main­ing dis­tance.

At home, for­get about the dish­washer and wash and dry by hand — you’re stand­ing up, af­ter all! Or grow your own herbs and ve­g­ies. You’ll be on your feet dig­ging, plant­ing, wa­ter­ing and pick­ing.


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