Take a Stand Against Sitting
By Jill Provost
Take a stand against sitting! If you spend all day glued to your office chair, like most U.S. workers do, your job could be taking a serious toll on your health. The reason: too much desk time — or other sedentary pursuits — can steal years from your life, even if you log hours on the treadmill.
The amount of time spent sitting or lying down is strongly connected to your risk of heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes and even an early death. According to a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology, women who sat for more than six hours a day had a 37 percent greater risk of premature death, compared with those who sat for three, regardless of their weight or workout habits.
“We don’t know how much total sitting time per day is too much. However, our research is currently trying to understand how much sitting at one time is too much,” says Dr. Genevieve Healy, PhD, senior research fellow at the University of Queensland Australia, who studies sedentary behavior. Turns out, it’s the prolonged, uninterrupted bouts of sitting still that seem to be the most dangerous. When muscles stop moving, the metabolism slows down, your body stops burning fat and starts to store it, and triglyceride and blood sugar levels rise —
which could, says Healy, clog arteries.
So what can those of us who spend half of our waking hours attached to our desks, steering wheels and sofas do to reverse this march towards poor health?