Don’t Sit So Much

Dec 9, 2015

How long have you been sitting in your car or at your desk listening to the radio? If it has been more than 20 minutes, I have some bad news for you.

More and more research shows that sitting is the new smoking in terms of its negative effects on our health. Some are even referring to the problems associated with sedentary lifestyles as “sitting disease.”

A  study  published in the American College Physicians’ January 2015 Annals of Internal Medicine concluded that prolonged sedentary time was independently associated with deleterious health outcomes regardless of physical activity. That means people who sit too much every day are at an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and shorter life spans, even if they exercise at other times.

Global studies show, on average, we sit 7.7 hours a day, and some results estimate people sit up to 15 hours a day. You don’t need to stand all day long, however, to battle the negative effects of sitting disease.

Gretchen Reynolds, who writes the “Phys Ed” column for The New York Times, authored a book called The First 20 Minutes in which she advocates standing 2 minutes of every 20 that you are desk bound. “If you can also walk around your office, you get even more benefits”, she states. “You will lose weight, you lessen your chance of heart disease, and you will improve your brain. But if you can do nothing else, stand up!"

Brooke Hildebrand Clubbs is the Director of Health Communication at Southeast Missouri State University.