Your chair is killing you
PROLONGED sitting has a devastating impact on your health. It promotes weight gain, Type 2 diabetes and dozens of chronic diseases. Some researchers are even stating that sitting is the new smoking.
Dr James Levine from the Mayo Clinic showed that for every hour you sit down, your life expectancy decreases by two hours. In comparison, statistical analysis shows that smoking a cigarette reduces your life expectancy by 11 minutes. So, in some respects, prolonged sitting may be actually be worse than smoking.
If you think that because you go to the gym and have an exercise program you’re covered, you’re wrong. We have a new category of active sedentary people, who are fit due to their exercise programs but are at risk of health problems because they sit for the rest of the day. The fact is that one hour of exercise can’t combat the effects of 10 hours of sitting.
However, I do believe that a well-designed high-intensity exercise program is an important ingredient for a healthy lifestyle. Considering that 70% of Australians don’t engage in vigorous exercise at all and spend most of their day sitting, perhaps it’s more realistic to just start getting any form of movement into their daily routines.
Before you go and hurl your office chair out the window, a vital fact is that it’s not the total amount of time we spend sitting that’s the problem, it’s how often you break up sitting.
Let me explain this further. Standing up 20 times a day is an antidote to prolonged sitting. Standing up 20 times in a row all at once does not give you the same benefits of standing up once every 20 minutes for seven hours. Walking for two minutes every 20 minutes of sitting is even more effective.
Sitting still for long periods appears to age cells faster. In a University of California study, sedentary women who sat for more than 10 hours a day and had less than 40 minutes of physical activity showed cell age that was accelerated by eight years compared to their more active colleagues. Sitting even ages our DNA – we are born to move, not sit on our butts.
So what can you do?
Stand up every 20 minutes – set a timer on your computer/phone if you need to.
Don’t sit for more than 50 minutes every hour – stand, walk or do exercises as alternatives.
Walk every day. Aim for 10,000 steps a day – you can use a fitness tracker or pedometer to measure this. This is an addition to your fitness routine.
Add walking into your work tasks. For example, walk and talk on your phone, have walking meetings.
Trial a standing workstation.
While an exercise program is important for a healthy lifestyle, this works best when added to an active lifestyle.
Visit Hamish at Kaizen Exercise Physiologists, 2/47 Sixth Ave, Maroochydore, and get your wellness on track.
Some researchers claim that sitting is the new smoking.