Avoiding America’s #1 Killer

According to a number of news and health articles I’ve read over the past year, there is a silent killer that seems to be sneaking up on people without even raising the least suspicion.  To get right to the point, apparently there is a direct correlation between the amount of time you spend SITTING DOWN and the length of your lifespan.

Sitting down too much is related to high rates of mortality and morbidity.  You wouldn’t really think much about it unless you were made aware of it.  I mean, everyone already knows that you need to lead somewhat of an active lifestyle, and that exercise needs to be a part of your weekly routine.  But even when you’re not exercising, you really need to be aware of just how much sitting  you do.  Those who sit most are most likely to die soonest.  Those whose lifestyles consist of too much sitting also tend to develop disease.

Most of us can’t help how much sitting down we do.  You may be a truck driver on long hauls.  You may have a desk job that ties you to a computer for most of the day.  Then when you get home, there’s a lot of sitting that needs to be done:  eating meals, watching tv, using the computer, etc.

If we HAVE to be tied down with these sitting tasks, what can we do to mitigate our risk of early disease and death?

My number one tip:  take frequent breaks from your sitting spells.

Take time out at work to get up, even if its just to walk down the hallway for a minute or two.  Avoid sitting for prolonged periods that are uninterrupted by breaks.   Even a small break, if it breaks your sitting spell, is worthwhile.

At home, lets say you know you need to spend 3 or 4 hours on the computer; what can you do?

For one, don’t try to accomplish ALL your “standing activities” at the same time, and all your “sitting activities” during the same sitting spell.  If you know you have to clean up the kitchen, wait until you’ve been at your “sitting task” for 45 minutes to an hour, and THEN get up and go clean up the kitchen.   You might then see that you need to do another chore; if so, wait until you’ve done another 30 minutes of your sitting, and then use that chore to break your prolonged sitting.

Try to have a very good mix of sitting and standing.  Don’t say, “I’m going to get all of this (insert task here) stuff done, then I can go to my computer and stay there until I have all my work accomplished.”   Instead, conserve some of your standing or walking tasks, and intersperse them with whatever it is that has you sitting:  tv, meals, computer, etc.

Don’t try to “make up” for your prolonged sitting by saying, “I’ll balance out 5 hours of continued sitting with 1 hour of activity.”   Its the periods of “prolonged” sitting that are doing the damage, so try not to have them; and if you absolutely must, try to have them as infrequently as possible.

I don’t know WHY this prolonged sitting is so terrible for our health.  I don’t know if its due to circulation, if it sends a signal to our body that we’re not doing so well, if it has something to do with our internal organs not being jostled around enough, or just what may be the problem.   Perhaps its a mixture of those, or something that is yet unknown.

What IS known however, is that prolonged sitting is BAD.   It is now a known fact.   Lets all do what we can to avoid the negative consequences of all this sitting, and adjust our lives, our work, our tasks, and our recreations so that we are standing not only more, but more frequently.   Is there something that you do while sitting, that could actually be done standing?   Just yesterday, after being on the computer for awhile, I went to play my guitar.  Even though I’d rather sit and do it, I made myself stand because I JUST got off the computer, which was ALL sitting.   Just  a while ago, I saw that I needed to unload the dishwasher.  However, I had just gotten home from doing errands, so I decided to “save” that task to use as a “standing break” from the work I knew I had to do on the computer.

I am going to make a SERIOUS effort to avoid prolonged sitting, and I suggest you do the same!

PS.  Spread the word!

 

Here are some article links that will testify to the truthfulness of the above:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-19910888

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/oct/21/is-sitting-bad-for-you

http://www.moneycrashers.com/why-sitting-bad-health/

http://www.blisstree.com/2012/11/30/move/sitting-is-bad-for-you-even-if-you-exercise-but-doesnt-have-to/

http://www.npr.org/2011/04/25/135575490/sitting-all-day-worse-for-you-than-you-might-think

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/13/sitting_n_1202800.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magazine/mag-17sitting-t.html?_r=0

http://www.myoneresolution.com/sitting-is-the-new-smoking-top-10-ways-to-exercise-at-work/

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