Get up, stand up.
The simple act of sitting for long stretches of time had the largest impact on their health.
A 2006 study from the University Of Minnesota (my home state) found that from 1980 to 2000, the percentage of people who reported exercising regularly had no statistical change, but the time spent sitting on a daily basis rose by eight per cent. I don’t have the data to conclude what has taken place since then, but I am going to take a stab in the dark and say that, at minimum, these values have stayed consistent.
A Dutch study re-created the lifestyle of a human being some 160 years ago. They set up a historic theme park and hired actors to live for one week as an 1850s Australian settler. These men did everything from chopping wood to gathering food and their activity levels were then compared to modern office workers. It turned out the actors walked nearly eight miles [13 km] further per day than their deskbound modern counterparts.
All of this should be very alarming. Sitting isn’t just bad for tr ying to maintain a perky butt. Sitting, or complete inactivity, is detrimental to overall health and longevity. Back in the day of rising hemlines and the start of the hippie revolution, Americans had a diabetes rate of less than one per cent and obesity was at 13 per cent. Now, confined to chairs and glued to computer screens, six per cent have diabetes and a whopping 35 per cent are obese.
The key is to understand the difference between regularly exercising and being active. A person who goes to the gym every day for an hour but sits at a desk the rest of the day is leading a relatively inactive lifestyle. The goal is to achieve both: regular exercise that increases cardiovascular output, as well as maintaining an active lifestyle throughout the day.
The Minnesota study found people who sit all day are 54 per cent more likely to have a heart attack than someone who is more active. What was even more astonishing was that, after observing more than 17,000 men and women, their weight and how often they exercised had no impact on the 54 per cent who are more at risk. The simple act of sitting for long stretches of time had the largest impact on their health.
The more active you are throughout the entire day is the best preventative medicine, so take a moment, stand up, and increase your activity levels. The evidence is clear that major health issues can be avoided – if you don’t take them sitting down.
more: Dr Cody Hanish holds the internationally-accredited title of Certified Chiropractic Wellness Lifestyle Practitioner. Find Dr Cody at Thrive Health, 185 Victoria Street, Potts Point, Sydney. Tel (02) 9331 8661 or 0430 340 038 or thrivechiro.com.au. Or go to drcody.com.