A direct relationship between long hours of sitting and early mortality rates have been discovered.
Even a consistently active person can suffer from the consequences of sitting for long hours on end, and suffer from an early death.
An experiment using a hip-mounted accelerometer was done to analyze the movement of adults over 45.
What was found was that on average, sedentary behavior accounted for about 12.3 hours of an average 16-hour waking day.
That only left 3.7 hours a day for movement.
Another study found that adults under the age of 45 on average sit for 9-10 hours a day.
Researchers have estimated that these periods of sedentary behavior can be as last as short as 11 minutes at a time but others periods can last up to 90 minutes.
As the amount of time spent sitting increases so does the chance of an early death. In the study done, those who sat for 13 hours a day or more had a 200% greater risk of death compared to those who sat for 11 hours a day or less.
Positively, those who sat for less than 30 minutes at a time lower their risk of an early death.
“Sit less, move more”, is what the American Heart Association is encouraging us all to do.
As a busy professional, I know that moving more isn’t always the most convenient or easy thing to do.
But just as we are encouraged to do moderate-intense aerobic exercises two hours and thirty minutes a week, we should be encouraged to do more frequent, less-intensive exercises.
There are many simple, short activities, that if done frequently can help reduce the harsh side-effects that come from long quantities of sitting.
- Set a timer for 30 minutes. For every 30 minutes you spend sitting, try walking at a brisk pace for 5 minutes. Moving every 30 minutes allows for optimal blood flow to the brain and muscles. Try mixing it up; skip down the hall, do lunges, anything to get your heart rate up.
- Take 10 minutes to do a mini-yoga session. There are many quick, easy sequences such as sun-salutation that can help wake up and stimulate your body and mind.
- Volunteer to be the errand person in your office. Be the one to make copies, go on coffee runs, or delivery notes/messages to people. Small responsibilities such as these are the perfect excuse to get up and move your body.
- Drink more water as you work. Not only will drinking water help you feel better, but it will give you the urge to be active. Every time you finish your bottle of water get up and refill it. Let’s also not forget about the natural consequence for drinking water… bathroom breaks are the perfect excuse to get up and move.
Statistics show that people sit more as they get older. Make a conscious effort to sit less and move more. Your body will thank you and you will find yourself living a longer, happier life.
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