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December 8, 2009
Chances are, you’re doing it right now: sitting in a chair. And chances are, this is what you do most of the day.
A recent article on Canada.com highlights how common sitting is in the modern world. According to a study it cites, the average adult sits during 90% of his time awake. Furthermore, less than half of the remaining 10% tends to be spent performing even moderate physical activity.
But sitting appears to be a health risk by itself, not just to the extent that it prevents people from doing actual exercise. Every two hours spent sitting daily was found to raise the risk of obesity by between 5% and 23%, and the risk of Type 2 diabetes by between 7% and 14%. Even among people who exercise for at least 30 minutes five days a week — considered to be relatively active — time spent sitting is associated with larger waist size, higher blood pressure, and worse cholesterol levels. A separate study also found sitting to be associated with a higher risk of neck pain.
The logical conclusion to reach from these studies, of course, is that people should spend less time sitting and more time walking around. For some people, this may be a simple option; it could mean, for example, watching TV while walking on a treadmill. But for those of us who need to sit in an office for most of the day, there are fewer choices. While taking breaks from extended sitting to walk around is definitely a good idea, it does little to reduce the total amount of time spent sitting.
Do you have any ideas for how to sit less and move more? Do you spend most of the day sitting? Are you frustrated by a need to sit more than you’d like to, or is getting motivated to move a greater challenge? Is a broader shift away from sitting possible, or do you think humans have a sedentary future? Leave a comment below!
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