Are you sitting comfortably? Here's some motivation to get up and get moving:
Sitting has recently been described as the ‘Smoking of our Generation’ and it has been compared to cancer for it’s ill health effects.
The average time spent sitting is around 9.3 hours per day compared to just 7.7 hours spent sleeping.
The increase in the amount of time spent on our posteriors is largely due to the shift in the type of work that we, as a society, now do.
Where we were once known as a nation of labourers and tradesmen, we are now known for our savvy in computers and I.T.
This however, comes at a price, and that price is long hours spent sitting in front of a screen.
Just recently, researchers have reported that sitting for long hours can contribute to:
- Mental health issues.
- A higher risk of death from heart disease and other causes.
- A higher risk of being disabled.
The new studies go even further and suggest that too much sitting is bad for you, even if you get regular exercise.
So while you may be doing some regular exercise, it may not undo the 8 hours sitting at your desk and you may need to increase your overall daily activity to offset the time spent on your posterior.
Sitting has also been linked with high blood pressure, obesity, bad cholesterol, and too much belly fat.
The idea is that prolonged sitting causes muscles to burn less fat and that blood will flow more sluggishly.
Both can increase the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and other problems.
In some cases, it’s still unclear which way the link goes, says Barry Braun, PhD, director of the Energy Metabolism Laboratory at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.
“People who sit the most are more likely to be obese,” he says.
“Are people obese because they sit too much, or do they sit too much because they are obese?”
The effects of sitting on our appetite was also studied and it was found that it didn’t lower appetite. It found the opposite and suggested that sitting more could trigger us to eat more than we should and ultimately lead to weight gain.
Research is also asking if exercise can balance out the ill effects that sitting is having on our health.
Jacqueline Kerr, PhD says it may help people to think about being active and sitting as two separate ways to improve or harm your health and she didn’t think that the effects of exercise would have as big an impact as some might think.
“Does exercise compensate for a bad night’s sleep?”
“So why should exercise compensate for the fact that you sit all day?”
It’s an interesting comparison.
You can’t exercise away prolonged lack of sleep and eventually your recovery and performance will suffer.
Dr Kerr made the comparison that prolonged periods of sitting could have the same effects and that shouldn’t be ignored.
As a coach, I am seeing a change in people’s body shapes.
I am seeing men more and more with the new ‘skinny fat’ body type and females with more fat around the hips, thighs and arms.
For men, the ‘skinny fat’ body shape is the most unhealthy body type to have, and they actually have a LOWER life expectancy than someone who is obese.
For females, you are presenting with more areas of stubborn body fat and less muscle tone and body control when it comes to exercises.
So, what can you do to help?
- Give yourself reminders to sit less, a Fitbit is great for reminding you of this.
- At home, consider a TV commercial your signal to get out of your chair and move about
- At work, use frequent intervals to get out of your chair and walk for a short period. Get up and move around every half hour or so and again, keep track of your activity levels.
Once people get used to the idea of sitting less, they often are open to the idea of moving more and to being more active in daily life.
This often carries through to all ares of their lives and can add up to improved fitness, improved health and lower chances of being obese.
There is nothing bad about that.
If you would like to join us in our Lean in 2018 program, the next one starts on April 2nd.
Our next intake for new members starts tomorrow and you can find out all information through the link below.