Stand More, Sit Less: It is Important!
- Data indicates moving as little as 10 mins for every hr of sitting may help reduce negative effects.
- Ideally you should be sitting no more than 3 hrs each day using correct posture to reduce strain on your lower back and neck
A recent study in the Annals of Internal Medicine demonstrated that sitting for prolonged periods of time can be deadly. Even those who exercised heavily when they were not at the office experienced a significantly increased risk of death when seated for 8 hrs a day.
During the study, the team evaluated 8,000 Americans over the age of 45 for a 4-year period.
Participants wore accelerometers to track their movements. The researchers found those who moved more were healthier overall. However, they also found a correlation between death rates of participants and how many hours they spent seated during the day. In other words, there was a relationship between the time spent seated and the risk of early mortality from any cause.
Although the American Heart Association encourages sitting less and moving more, the guideline maybe too simplistic.
Keith Diaz, certified exercise physiologist and lead author of the study at Columbia University, believes this is like telling someone to exercise without telling them how.
Instead, guidelines should be precise, such as those by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which recommends moderate-intensity aerobic exercise for 2.5 hrs every week, plus strengthening activities 2 or more times a week.
Mr. Diaz says: “We need similar guidelines for sitting. We think a more specific guideline could read something like, ‘For every 30 consecutive minutes of sitting, stand up and move or walk for five minutes at a brisk pace to reduce the health risks from sitting.’”
Although previous studies found daily sitting time to average between 9 and 10 hours per day, data analysis from this study found an average of 12.3 hrs of sedentary behavior for an average 16-hour waking day.
As total sedentary time increased, so did early death by any cause, regardless of the participants’ age, sex, race, body mass index or exercise habits. The results indicated those who sat in stretches of less than 30 mins had a 55% lower risk of death than those who sat for more than 30 mins at a stretch.
Sitting for long periods of time takes a toll on our bodies.
Dr. James Levine, codirector of the Mayo Clinic/Arizona State University Obesity Initiative, and author of the book “Get Up! Why Your Chair Is Killing You and What You Can Do About It,” has dedicated a good part of his career to investigating the health effects of sitting.
His investigations demonstrate when you sit for long periods of time a number of molecular cascades are initiated. In just 90 secs after standing, muscular and cellular systems processing blood sugar, triglycerides and cholesterol are activated, simply by carrying your own body weight.
These cellular mechanisms are also responsible for pushing fuel into your cells, and when done regularly, may radically reduce your risk of diabetes and obesity. In other words, while your joints make movement easier, your body enjoys benefits even at the molecular level.
Although many recommend standing for 10 mins of every hour of sitting the bare minimum and far from ideal. It seems wiser to strive to sit as little as possible each day. And eliminate the things that could wrong when parked in front of your desk all day long
Eat healthy, Be healthy, Live lively
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