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Don’t Take This Sitting Down

Category : Active Living

by Karin Jennings

How much time do you spend sitting? According to a poll of 6000+ people by the Institute for Medicine and Public Health, the average person spends 56 hours per week sitting! Think about it, thanks to technology we are able to sit more than any other generation in the history of the human race! That, my friends, is extremely bad for our health.

The Physiology of Inactivity

What happens to your body when you sit for extended periods of time? Studies show that your body reacts to being sedentary in the following ways:

  • Circulation slows
  • Metabolism slows
  • Cholesterol levels increase
  • Lipoprotein lipase levels decrease
  • Body uses less blood sugar

Inactivity increases the risk of the following:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Certain types of cancer
  • Depression
  • Chronic lower-back pain

Move more often

Studies show that regular workouts, while beneficial to your health, do not entirely negate the harmful effects of sitting. Genevieve Healy, Ph.D., a research fellow at the Cancer Prevention Research Centre of the University of Queensland in Australia found that regardless of how much moderate to vigorous exercise participants did, those who took more breaks from sitting throughout the day had slimmer waists, lower BMIs (body mass indexes), and healthier blood fat and blood sugar levels than those who sat the most. In an extensive study of 17,000 people, Canadian researchers drew an even more succinct conclusion: The longer you spend sitting each day, the more likely you are to die an early death — no matter how fit you are.

This isn’t about finding time to exercise for 30-60 minutes five times per week which is the standard recommendation. Instead, this is about getting up and moving throughout the day.

Here are some ideas:

  • Get up and move every 30 minutes. Set a reminder on your computer or phone and DON’T ignore it.
  • Stand instead of sitting…whenever you can stand behind your desk instead of sitting, do it.
  • Walk instead of standing…if you can pace or “walk and talk” do so.
  • Use the restroom & water fountain furthest from you desk.
  • Take the stairs.
  • Limit TV watching to 1 hour/day or don’t watch TV sitting down, instead stand, ride a stationary bike, or sit on a stability ball.
  • Replace your desk chair with a stability ball.
  • Try wearing a pedometer. This will make you more aware of how active (or inactive) you are during the day. If you haven’t reached 10,000 steps by evening…go out for a walk to make up for it, however set your goal for the next day to increase your activity by 20% (for instance, if you only made it to 6000 steps, aim for 7200 the following day).

Remember, it’s the little things that add up in this case. Move more each day ALL day long for healthier, happier you!

Karin Jennings owns and operates XO Fitness, LLC in De Pere with her husband, Ryan. She has been a certified personal trainer since 1996. XO Fitness specializes in personal and small group training. They focus on helping people reach their health & fitness goals through exercise and lifestyle changes.