If I could instill one and only one habit in my clients, it would be to spend less time sitting. Sitting for long-hours is arguably as dangerous to the body as smoking cigarettes. Here are but a few of the reasons why:
#1 Sitting too much causes depression.
This Huffington Post article examines a study put out by the American Journal of Preventative Medicine.
Here is the data:
- Women who sat for more than seven hours a day were at a 47 percent higher risk for depressive symptoms, compared with women who sat for four or fewer hours a day.
- Women who didn’t do any exercise had a 99 percent higher risk for depressive symptoms, compared with those who exercised according to physical activity guidelines.
- Those who sat the most and didn’t exercise had the highest risk of all, with a tripled risk of experiencing depressive symptoms.
#2 Sitting too much increases risk of heart disease.
This Patti Neighmond article looks at a study published in the Official Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine.
Here is the verdict:
“..men who reported more than 23 hours a week of sedentary activity had a 64 percent greater risk of dying from heart disease than those who reported less than 11 hours a week of sedentary activity. And many of these men routinely exercised.”
A theme of many of these “sitting studies” is that increased sitting correlates with worse health by almost every objective measurement. Cholesterol, blood sugar, triglycerides, body fat percentage and waist size all suffer in sedentary populations.
All these effects naturally lead to…
#3 Sitting too much increases the likelihood that you will flat-out die (…soon).
This answer from a Mayo Clinic question and answer session illustrates the point.
According to Dr. James A. Levine:
“One recent study compared adults who spent less than two hours a day in front of the TV or other screen-based entertainment with those who logged more than four hours a day of recreational screen time. Those with greater screen time had: A nearly 50 percent increased risk of death from any cause.”
#4 Sitting too much causes increased risk of cancer.
This article examines the relationship between sedentary lifestyles and increase risk of the recurrence of Colorectal Cancer.
“Specifically, they found that men who spend 11.38 or more hours a day participating in sedentary activities (like reading or watching TV) had a 45 percent higher risk of recurrence of colorectal adenoma, versus men who spend 6.9 or fewer hours a day engaged in sedentary activities.”
#5 Sitting too much is likely to cause weight gain.
Calories burned per hour while sitting = 46 (Check out this calculator to determine exactly how many calories you burn while sitting).
Calories burned per hour while walking = 314 (According to this Mayo Clinic chart)
So if I could get a client to walk instead of sit for an hour each day that equates to 1800 extra calories burned per week! This simple act of going for a walk for an hour (perhaps listening to the radio, instead of watching TV) means an extra 2 pounds per month of potential weight loss!
Convinced? Try this simple standing office workout to give yourself a break from sitting. Little habits like these can make a big difference.