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Is Sitting Evil?

Get Up, Move Around, Save Your Life.

If you pay attention to the news, you are seeing a growing number of articles and stories related to the demonization of sitting. Let’s face it, the vast majority of us are more sedentary than we used to and technology is blame for most of it. A large portion of today’s workforce spends close to 8 hour sitting, spends 45 minutes commuting each way (sitting) and then winding down at night with some more sitting. Many are calling sitting the “new smoking” because of the number of health risks that are being associated with it.

Many people are moving to standing desks in an effort to reduce the sitting, but there is no strong support that just standing in one place all day is helping you all that much either. People can slouch just as easy standing, so it’s not helping posture. A number of studies have also shown that the caloric burn of standing still all day versus sitting all day isn’t that significant either.

In a recent article in the New York Times  they discussed a study that did link excessive sedentary periods (a.k.a sitting or couch surfing) to premature death. So, there is some growing evidence that just sitting around all day isn’t good for you…but we know that, right?

What was interesting in the study (and in the NYT article), was that doing some regular exercise didn’t necessarily change the statistics. But that can’t make sense, right? Apparently the long term sitting or periods of being more sedentary has a more lasting effect. Here is where the twist comes in…what they found is that by reducing the intervals of sitting to about 30 minutes, then getting up and moving around before sitting again really did help to reduce the effects of prolonged sitting.

This is where the technology part of our life is the problem. In most jobs you DON’T have to get up anymore. You can order, fax, scan, print all from your desk and you don’t have to move. Rather than trying to get that standing desk, what we should be doing is making sure that every 30 minutes or so we are actually getting up, walking around a little bit…maybe even doing a little standing stretching to get some blood moving. Getting some blood flow to your body will help your brain too.

So starting right now, set yourself a reminder to get up multiple times a day and just walk around a little. It might just save your life!