The Huffington Post calls it ‘the smoking of our generation’

Most of us spend way too much time in front of our computers, sitting down while taking phone calls, sitting in meetings or sitting in front of the TV.

In fact, research has shown that we now spend around 9 hours a day sitting, compared with only 7 to 8 hours sleeping.

A study by Queensland University links sitting to increased rates of mortality. In fact, they describe that if you watch 6 hours of TV a day, you can expect to die 5 years younger than would someone who doesn’t watch TV at all. Don’t think you can exercise your way out of trouble, either. A burst of exercise won’t cancel out what damage you do to yourself over hours of being seated.

After an hour of sitting, the production of the enzymes that break down insulin decreases significantly. Prolonged sitting, without short activity breaks, can lead to obesity, a major health problem now in the developed world.

According to the Huffington Post article, “You might already know that the death rate associated with obesity in the United States is now 35 million. But do you know what it is in relationship to tobacco? Just 3.5 million.”

Obesity and lack of exercise can also lead to diabetes. This latter is a particular problem in the developed world. Recent research has linked diabetes to Alzheimer’s disease; so much so that, according to a New York Times article, researchers are now referring to Alzheimer’s as ‘Diabetes 3”. Yes, the links are mainly to junk food but a real risk is the insulin spikes, and they’re worse if you sit all day.

So how can you head off these potential health risks? (If you don’t think it’s important, check out the cool infographics in this article.)

A few simple steps:

  • Stand up when you talk on the phone
  • Set your smart phone to remind you every 20 minutes about getting up. This is also a good time to refresh your eyes. (Every 20 minutes, look out 20 metres for 20 seconds.)
  • Drink more water…and get up to get a glass of water rather than keeping a jug or a bottle at your desk.
  • Instead of sit-down meetings, change one a day to a ‘walk-and-talk’ or a stand-up meeting. You’ll find this has more than just health benefits; generally, you’ll find that meetings are shorter and more to the point. You’ll be more productive with more time to get on with your job. The best benefit? Studies show that walking is good for the brain.

So take the first step and stand up.

 

Links

Smoking of our generation

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nilofer-merchant/sitting-is-the-smoking-of-our-generation_b_2506748.html

cool infographics in this article

http://visual.ly/sitting-killing-you

study by Queensland University http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/46/13/927

35 million http://www.mercurynews.com/top-stories/ci_22285260/author-sugar-trending-new-dietary-scourge

a New York Times article http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/25/bittman-is-alzheimers-type-3-diabetes/

walking is good for the brain. http://www.theguardian.com/education/2010/oct/13/walking-could-protect-brain-against-shrinking