How many hours do you sit a day? 8 at work. 2 in the car. 4 watching TV and eating. All this sitting is a novel behaviour for humans. It's now seen as a MAJOR health risk that cannot be offset by an hour in the gym. Once I started to think about how much I sit, I was able to change this. I have a standing desk and I walk a lot now. It's not hard to find ways.
Here is why in more detail and here is what others are doing
The context from Dr James Levine at the Mayo Clinic:
"Too much sitting also seems to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.
One recent study compared adults who spent less than two hours a day in front of the TV or other screen-based entertainment with those who logged more than four hours a day of recreational screen time. Those with greater screen time had:
- 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.
Sitting in front of the TV isn't the only concern. Any extended sitting — such as behind a desk at work or behind the wheel — can be harmful. What's more, spending a few hours a week at the gym or otherwise engaged in moderate or vigorous activity doesn't seem to significantly offset the risk.
Rather, the solution seems to be less sitting and more moving overall. You might start by simply standing rather than sitting whenever you have the chance."
From the NYT today:
"Suppose you stick to a five-times-a-week gym regimen, as I do, and have put in a lifetime of hard cardio exercise, and have a restingheart rate that’s a significant fraction below the norm. That doesn’t inoculate you, apparently, from the perils of sitting.
The research comes more from observing the health results of people’s behavior than from discovering the biological and genetic triggers that may be associated with extended sitting. Still, scientists have determined that after an hour or more of sitting, the production of enzymes that burn fat in the body declines by as much as 90 percent. Extended sitting, they add, slows the body’s metabolism of glucose and lowers the levels of good (HDL) cholesterol in the blood. Those are risk factors toward developing heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
“The science is still evolving, but we believe that sitting is harmful in itself,” says Dr. Toni Yancey, a professor of health services at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Yet many of us still spend long hours each day sitting in front of a computer.
The good news is that when creative capitalism is working as it should, problems open the door to opportunity. New knowledge spreads, attitudes shift, consumer demand emerges and companies and entrepreneurs develop new products. That process is under way, addressing what might be called the sitting crisis. The results have been workstations that allow modern information workers to stand, even walk, while toiling at a keyboard."