Skip to content HOLIDAY HOURS

Sitting Will Kill You

sittingOk, ok.  That may be a bit extreme. However I have read some articles lately that are starting to bring awareness to the negative health affects of excessive sitting.  Studies by the world renowned Mayo Clinic are showing that we spend more than half of our waking hours sitting down. These are split between watching TV, driving and working at a desk. This is not good.  Too much of anything is not good (including exercise I might add).

In a new book called Drop Dead Healthy, the author explains how sitting has a two-fold effect.  The first being the more obvious burning less calories when we sit.  The second is that prolonged sitting can actually change our metabolism.  A study of 17,000 people found that those who sit for most of the day are 54% more likely to die of a heart attack.

Now, don’t get too bent out of shape yet, as this can resolved.  A lot of people will say that they exercise, so that this offsets the negative consequences.  This however, is not true.   Which at first glance seems to be counterintuitive until we sit and think about it more.  If you sit for about 10 hours a day, does it seem reasonable that 1 hour of exercise would completely undo all of that sitting? That is still a 10:1 ratio of sitting to exercise.

So if exercise doesn’t help that must mean you are doomed! Not at all.  Enter the fad of the standing desk.  Sales of standing desks in large companies have been driven by this sitting research.  Large companies have paid good money to have standing desks, treadmill desks and adjustable desks that go up and down depending on if you want to sit or stand.  This is a great start.  But if you don’t want to spend the money, or this is impractical – what else can be done to counteract this?

Research shows getting up for a walk and a stretch periodically throughout the day.   A lot of the  consequences of the prolonged sitting can be negated by breaking it up.  Even though your still sitting for most of the day, if you can break the sitting up into a lot of shorter sitting periods that is much better for you.  This is much better for your metabolism as well as your joints, ligaments and muscles.  If you really want to boost your break time, do 1 minute of body weight squats in front of your desk.  This will boost your heart rate and metabolism and burn more calories, as well as pump blood into your muscles and joints.

So, take lots of short breaks throughout the day. This can be body weight squats, a quick stretch, a bathroom break or even a walk around the office to grab a drink.

Add Your Comment (Get a Gravatar)

Your Name


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *.