ParticipACTION released a survey during Sneak It In Week (April 4-8) that showed Canadians are worried that they sit too much. They’re right to be concerned.
Sixty-three per cent of Canadian office workers are worried about sitting too much according to the survey undertaken with Angus Reid. Meetings are a particular irritant. Thirty-two per cent of respondents said they spend too much time in them.
A study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine this past March calculated that sitting time contributed to some 433,000 deaths a year. That is concerning.
This concern is not new, however. A Google search of the words “sitting too much” returned some 153 million results. It turns out that our bodies are really made for moving not sitting.
Sitting poses health and longevity risks even if you exercise. What are those risks? Well, to list just a small sample:
- worse mental health
- higher risk of death from heart disease
- higher risk of being disabled
- high blood pressure
- back problems
- bad cholesterol
- increased risk of diabetes
- increased risk of cancer
- shorter life spans
- too much belly fat.
What can you do to reduce the amount of time you sit? Well, here are just a few ideas:
- Stretch regularly
- Take short walking breaks
- Hold walking meetings
- Use a standing desk at work
- Give yourself reminders to sit less (a smaller water class or mug so you have to refill more often)
- Change social norms (a standing break instead of a coffee break)
Get your employer on board as well. Tolerating short movement breaks can boost creativity, increase productivity, and improve employee satisfaction and loyalty.
Here are links to a few more articles and videos, if you want more information:
- Sitting Increases the Risk of Dying Early (Nicholas Bakalar, New York Times, March 29, 2016)
- Health Risks of Sitting Too Much (Fitness Magazine, November 2015)
- Why sitting is bad for you (Murat Dalkilinç. Posted March 5, 2015)
- Are You Sitting Too Much (AsapSCIENCE. Posted December 18, 2014)
- Sitting Too Much: How Bad Is It? (Kathleen Doheny, reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD, April 07, 2014)
You’ll never view just standing around quite the same again.