By Emily White
From the driver’s seat, to the office chair, to the couch when you get home, it seems we are spending more and more time sitting and less time walking around or standing. Researchers are suggesting that this increase in sedentary behaviour could in fact be wreaking havoc on our health. People have even come out and said ‘sitting is the new smoking’. This may sound a little melodramatic but it is true that this modern way of living or ‘not living’ could in fact be clashing with the way we are meant to be. This desk-bound work could increase your risk of type 2 diabetes and premature mortality (1).
Many individuals will drive their car to work (parking as close as possible), catch the elevator to their office, be office bound all day before driving to the gym, to smash out a workout that will ‘wipe away’ all the negative effects of the sedentary day. Unfortunately researchers are suggesting that is just not the case. Recent epidemiologic evidence suggests that sitting time has negative effect on cardiovascular and metabolic health and this is independent of whether adults meet physical activity guidelines. So the detrimental associations of sitting for long periods of time remain even after accounting for time spent doing physical activity (2,3).
The solution is simple. Move more and sit less! This means not sitting at your desk for long periods without a break or standing whenever you get the chance. Examples of good times to stand include:
Sitting down all day is something that has become the norm in today’s society but the truth of the matter is- we were not designed to be this way! You don’t need to run marathons or gym twice a day to maintain good health- simply sitting less could make all the difference! Don’t be a ‘lazy gym goer’ using an earlier 1 hour gym session as an excuse to take the elevator when you could just as easily take the stairs!
1. Owen N, Bauman A, Brown W. Too much sitting: a novel and important predictor of chronic disease risk? British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2009;43(2):81-3.
2. Hamilton MT, Healy GN, Dunstan DW, Zderic TW, Owen N. Too little exercise and too much sitting: Inactivity physiology and the need for new recommendations on sedentary behavior. Current Cardiovascular Risk Reports. 2008;2(4):292.
3. Van Uffelen, Jannique G.Z. et al. Occupational Sitting and Health Risks. American Journal of Preventive Medicine , Volume 39 , Issue 4 , 379 - 38