Physical inactivity has become a pandemic of sorts. It is now causing more deaths than smoking. Yes, this is a serious health concern for everyone. Even those of us who exercise regularly, if you spend most of your day sitting you could still be affected.
Because so many of us have sedentary jobs, we spend most of our day sitting. The average American sits for 8-10 every day at work. This is often followed up by an evening sitting on the couch. Too much sitting makes us feel tired and leads to more inactivity and lack of exercise. Physical inactivity not only causes us to gain weight, but it is also now known to be the cause of many of the unhealthy lifestyle diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.
The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study that concluded too much sitting can make you at least 18 percent more likely to die from obesity, diabetes and heart disease than someone who sits for less than three hours a day. In the study, too much sitting was considered sitting for more than six hours a day.
Even if you exercise most days, the health benefits can be lost if you spend the rest of your time being physically inactive according to the researchers at the American Cancer Society.
Now that you know the dangers of physical inactivity and too much sitting, what can you do about it especially if you have a desk job? We must find alternative ways to become active. Stand up desks are becoming a popular choice for many, but standing all day is not healthly either. Just ask anyone who has a job in which they are standing all day. It is necessary to find a balance between sitting, standing and moving.
Try taking frequent breaks from sitting at your desk. Walk to the water fountain or stand and take stretching breaks. You can also recommed that your office hold stand up meetings (it may be the best way to keep some folks awake!) Try using a stability ball while you are sitting at your desk. You will be exercising your core muscles as your work.
Check out the video below from ABC News (includes a short introductory commercial). It shows how one office who were previously very sedentary transformed into a much healthier and slimmer environment for its employees. This office made some radical, but effective changes that could be incorporated in most workplaces, such as treadmill desks or walking meetings.
Being inactive for long periods of time can be dangerous to our health. There are simple and easy solutions for adding activity to our lives. The addition of just a small amount of exercise can save our lives by reducing the risk of dying early from one of the unhealthy lifestyle diseases. What are you going to do to reduce long period of inactivity?
I am going to buy an exercise ball and use it to sit at my desk. I will also try to take more stand up breaks. How about you? How can you reduce the effects of too much sitting? Please add your comments below.
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