Unhealthy behaviorWe don’t think much about the amount of time we sit on our butts, in fact we’ve geared sitting into pretty much every aspect of our lives.

We only need to look at US data to see that TV viewing time and low activity jobs have doubled,  and miles spent in a vehicle has triple in the last 50 years to know that things are profoundly changing.

Unfortunately though we’re built on a biology that was meant to move,  not to stare at a screen all day, and now we’re paying for it.

Back in May this year the Sydney Morning Herald ran a headline “Sitting is the new smoking” and quoted research by Veerman and collegues to indicate that for every hour of sitting we shorten our lives by 22 minutes. This looks even more ghastly when we compare this number to smokers who lose 11 minutes per cigarette.

Based on these data it would indicate that those of us who sit for 10 hours a day have the same risk of death as a 20 cigarette a day smoker!

Unfortunately the evidence is mounting that sitting is one of the leading risk factors to our overall health.

We only need to look at this graphic of increased risk of death to see that 12 hours of sitting per day is equivalent to smoking:sitting time graph

While governmental campaigns have been very successful at reducing the smoking rates over the past decade, a sedentary epidemic has been sneaking up while we’ve been on our backsides! I wonder whether it will receive the same amount of attention as smoking now the evidence is really starting to mount?

Now for those of us who need to sit as part of our jobs (as I’m sitting here typing out this blog!), don’t fear, there are things that we can do to help:

Firstly, get up every 30 minutes. It resets your metabolism especially if you walk around during this break. Thankfully today our technology is getting more mobile which means that we can walk and meet,  respond to emails or talk on the phone. Use reminders so that you don’t get stuck behind the desk!

Also, sit-to-stand workstations are increasing in popularity, not only for the increasing our metabolism but also for the improvement of posture (our body tells us in numerous ways that sitting is bad for us!).

Simply replacing 4 hours of your day with standing you’ll burn the same calories as a 50 minute walk.

So get up and get moving, you’ll find that most things that are done sitting can be done other ways with a little creativity. If you need some daily reminders to reduce your sitting, along with tips on your Food, Exercise, Stress and Sleep, please fill free to try our free web based app.

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