Researchers have linked prolonged sitting with a range of health concerns, including obesity, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, increased body fat around the abdominal area, elevated cholesterol and several types of cancer. (1)
The Journal of the National Cancer Institute concludes that watching TV for long periods of time, prolonged use of computers and gaming devices, reading, driving, sedentary jobs and a sedentary lifestyle in general can be detrimental to one’s health. The results from their meta analysis used data from 43 observational studies and found positive associations between prolonged sitting and the incidence of colon, endometrial and lung cancers. (2)
They also concluded that the more time people spent sitting, the less fat they burned and the more likely they were to gain weight. They also noted that sedentary people tend to eat more sugary and processed foods which contribute to obesity and cardiovascular disease by increasing blood pressure and tightening the arteries. (3)
Furthermore, people who spend most of their working hours sitting have twice the risk of heart disease than those who have standing jobs. Sitting reduces the activity of an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase (LPL), which helps break down fat. (4)
Even though we know of the proven health benefits that daily exercise provides, these findings prove that our bodies need to stay in motion throughout the day.
Below are some simple tips that can help you incorporate more activities during your waking hours.
At work or home office:
- Set a timer on your cell phone or computer to remind you to get out of your chair every 30-45 minutes.
- Whenever possible stretch and perform some squats, to activate your muscles.
- Stand or walk during phone calls.
- Walk to see your colleagues instead of making a phone call.
- Stand instead of rolling in your chair to reach for the printer or copier.
- Buy or make your own standing desk so you can stand while working.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Perform household tasks instead of sitting in front of the TV for hours.
- Stand up and walk during commercial breaks.
- When you break to get water, take advantage and walk around the house.
- Do some gardening.
- Wash your car instead of taking it though the drive through.
- Spend less time in bed during the weekend.
- Overall the goal is to stand and move more often.