“Sitting is the new smoking”Have you heard that yet?
Well tonnes of studies have been done recently on the health implications of sitting for prolonged periods of time. One particular study in “Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise” found that men who spent more than 23 hours a week sitting in their cars and watching TV had a 64% greater chance of dying from heart disease, than those who sat for 11 hours or less a week.
One of the scariest parts for me, especially as a fitness professional, is that the risks were relatively unrelated to how much the subjects exercised outside of their sitting time. This means that even exercising for an hour a day, a couple days a week still isn’t enough to totally ward off disease (don’t get me wrong, I could go on about TONNES of studies as to how exercise helps to decrease the risk of disease and other things, I’m saying it doesn’t completely eliminate the risk) so we need to make more opportunities to move throughout our day!
* FYI, 23 hours a week is only 3.28 hours a day, for some people that could be their whole commute, or a partial Netflix binge, because let’s be real, who stops at 3 hours of Netflix.
That’s insane right, you’re sitting there thinking “yeah, ok Roni, who doesn’t sit for more than 3 hours a day?” And I know that sounds super intense, but there are ways to decrease your risk, which don’t take that much effort on your part!
One study looked at the effects of simply standing at your workplace, instead of sitting at a desk. The main takeaway from this study is that the volunteers were able to raise their heart rate about 10bpm, which equaled up to burning about 50 calories more per hour than sitting. Those extra calories burned from simply standing rather than sitting adds up to about 30,000 more calories burned in a year, which is around 8 pounds of fat!
This doesn’t mean you have to stand all day at work, as little as 3-4 hours (about half your work day) can have a great influence on your health.
Another simple way to do this, if you do not have the environment at work that you can stand while you work, is to just stand up every 30 minutes and take a little walk or stretch. Instead of emailing a co-worker go walk to their office, go to the far restroom, or just stand up and stretch. Anything you can do to get out of your chair will help!
Not only is this a great way to decrease your risk of disease, but it also has other benefits. Sitting less can also help with weight loss by increasing your Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (how much calories your body burns in a day) and will most likely reduce any back pain by reducing the pressure on your spine when you sit all day!
In summary, I’m not taking away anything from exercising (obviously), I’m just reminding you that 3-5 hours a week of planned exercise is not enough!
A body in motion, stays in motion!
And I don know about you but I want to stay in motion for as long as I live!