Why being sedentary is bad for your health
Everybody knows we need to be more active, it is a fact. But how does this tie in with having an office job, a busy family life and just less time overall? There is research suggesting that sitting down for too long is bad for us, no matter how much exercise you do in general.
This isn't good news for workers where your job requires you to be based at a computer, or sitting down. Studies have suggested there was a link between prolonged sitting and being overweight, type 2 diabetes and a slower metabolism.
We spend, on average, 7 hours a day sitting down. We get in from work, no matter what our job, and sit down to read, surf the web or even just to drive home. It is a difficult cycle to break. And we naturally sit without thinking about it. But it is time to start the change.
How much is too much?
Well, here the advice is that we need regular exercise, which equates to 150 minutes a week and to reduce our time sitting. There is no evidence, yet, to say how long we can sit, so we need to take an educated guess. Some countries have taken the step in children’s health saying that they should sit only for an hour or two a day (Australia and Finland).
Sitting too long slows our metabolism, which in turn means we can't regulate blood sugar or blood pressure as well, nor can we metabolise fat, which leads to a variety of problems.
What can we do?
There are a few steps (literally) we can all take to reduce our time sitting.
1) When you commute by bus or train, stand instead of sitting. Or ditch the public transport and walk or cycle!
2) Take a brisk walk during your lunch break at work. Find a colleague to walk and talk too, or put on some music and enjoy the fresh air alone.
3) Use stairs where possible. You can do this at the train station, or at work, just avoid the escalators and lifts. Incorporate some stairs into your lunchtime walk to really maximise your time.
4) If you can, take a quick break from your desk every 30 minutes or so to stand. Walk to speak to a co-worker instead of sending them an email or text. Walk to get a tea or coffee to just stretch your legs.
5) Stand at your desk if possible and type for a while instead of sitting. Just don't over stretch to reach your computer, raise it up on a box if possible.
6) When you get home from work, keep getting up to do small jobs instead of spending the evening in front of the TV.
These small changes can make a big difference and will feel odd at first. However when they become habit, you won’t even notice you are dong it, but your body will!