Could too much time in your chair at work, or couch at home, be killing you?
It’s now commonly believed that sedentary behavior is as much a cause of our weight problems as how much we eat. Studies show that sitting six hours or more each day puts your life on a deadly track, even if you exercise! Considering the average American sits around 9 hours each day, this is definitely not good.
Since 1980, there has been an 8% increase in the average amount of time an American spends sitting each day. One of the biggest causes is that 80% of jobs require no physical activity for the entire work day.
When we sit, particularly for longer periods of time, our bodies begin to shut down, which can lead to an early death.
For example, obese people sit on average 2.5 more hours each day than thinner people. Sitting for long periods of time can actually make bottoms bigger because sitting down puts a lot of force on body tissues that make fat cells, causing them to produce 50% more.
That’s not even the worst news.
People who sit for prolonged periods are predisposed to developing diabetes and those who are already diabetic, their diabetes gets worse. Sitting most of the day also increases risk of having a heart attack by 54%! Add that to increased blood pressure, increases risk of multiple cancers, and more prone-ability to depression and other emotional problems. How scary is that?
1 in 10 premature deaths worldwide are caused by sedentary lifestyles.
Inacitivity caused 5.3 million deaths last year, smoking caused 5.1 million. That’s more deaths than tobacco!
How to Fight Back on Your Feet
The good news is there’s an easy fix to this.
Decrease daily sitting to under 3 hours per day to increase your lifespan by 2 years.
Break Up Sedentary Periods with Walks
Try to stand up every 15 minutes and walk 10 minutes for every hour of sitting.
Replace Your Chair at Work
Adjust your desk to work while standing – you burn 10-60 more calories by standing vs. sitting. You could also try using an exercise ball as a chair, which helps improve posture and promotes movement.
Turn Off the TV
Limit screen time to only 2 hours each day – get outside!
Make Exercise a Priority
Weekly exercise recommended by the AHA is 150 minutes of moderate activity – meaning a 30 minute walk everyday would lower your risk of death by sedentary lifestyle.
While inactivity is one of the most serious (and most embarrassing) killers, it’s also the most defeatable. Even a little exercise does a lot of good, and since American workers spend 90% of their leisure time sitting, we might be out of excuses.