You just gotta move around. That’s the new mantra when it comes to living healthy. You may have heard the news that sitting is the new smoking, a phrase coined by Dr. James A. Levine, a director at the Mayo Clinic and inventor of the treadmill desk.
Sitting for prolonged periods has been linked to increased risks of heart disease, obesity, increased blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol levels, diabetes, cancer and depression.
But for most of us, our lives have become sedentary. We work at desk jobs. We commute in cars, buses, trains or planes. We come home after an exhausting day at the office and kick back by watching TV, surfing the Internet or catching up with friends and family via phone, messages and emails.
The simple truth is that we sit a lot each day. If you monitor the amount of time you actually sit during the day you might be surprised.
Sitting & Your Good Health
Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death.
In a study comparing those who watched TV for less than two hours versus those who spent more than four hours a day watching TV the researchers found that those with more screen time experienced:
- A nearly 50 percent increased risk of death from any cause
- About a 125 percent increased risk of events associated with cardiovascular disease, such as chest pain (angina) or heart attack
The increased risk was separate from other traditional risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as smoking or high blood pressure.
For every hour we sit, we lose two hours of our life, according to Dr. Levine. The obvious solution is to get up and get moving. But this can be easier said than done.
Lifestyles today do not lend themselves to activity. You need to be vigilant and take advantage of every opportunity to move around. For example:
- Stand when you are used to sitting.
- Get up from your desk every hour and walk around.
- Swap out your traditional desk for a standing desk or treadmill workstation.
- Skip the coffee break and take a walk instead.
- Use your lunch break as a chance to stretch your legs and get some exercise.
- After dinner, go for a walk.
Make Movement a Part of Your Life
Once you get moving, you can enjoy the benefits. Coupled with a regular fitness program, you will burn even more calories. This can lead to weight loss, increased energy and a better, more positive outlook.