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About The Buzz: Time Spent Sitting Increases Risk of Disease?

October 7, 2015

TheBUZZ Time Spent Sitting Increases Risk of Disease?

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

We all know that spending too much time sitting is bad for our health, but did you know that sitting is being described as “the new smoking” by health professionals? Recently, researchers reported that being sedentary is associated with lower levels of health and wellbeing. Specifically, individuals who were less physically active were more likely to have cardiovascular disease and various cancers, mortality from these diseases, and higher rates of hospitalization.1

WHAT THIS MEANS

It’s trendy to be fit and active. Fitness classes, including Zumba, BodyPump, hot yoga and barre classes are all the rage, along with juicing and whey protein shakes. Fitbits help us keep track of calories burned and steps taken and RunKeeper helps us log miles and show our friends how often we hit the trail.

Researchers examined data from 41 studies related to sedentary activity, physical activity and health outcomes. Sedentary time was evaluated as daily overall sedentary time, sitting time, television or screen time, or leisure time spent sitting. The study found physical activity is protective against cardiovascular disease, cancer and hospitalization. Greater sedentary time was linked to an increased risk for premature death from cardiovascular disease and cancer, higher incidence of cardiovascular disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes.

If you are predominantly inactive during the day, don’t despair. The study found that a person could offset the negative side effects of sedentary time by engaging in physical activity! For example, if a person works a full-time office job but is still physically active at other times throughout the week (remember, 150 minutes each week is the goal!), they can lessen their risk of all-cause mortality by 30%.

OUR ADVICE

It’s trendy to be fit and active. Fitness classes, including Zumba, BodyPump, hot yoga and barre classes are all the rage, along with juicing and whey protein shakes. Fitbits help us keep track of calories burned and steps taken, and RunKeeper helps us log miles and show our friends how often we hit the trail.

But physical activity is so much more than a trend. There are four elements of fitness that contribute to your overall health and wellbeing: aerobic, muscular, flexibility and balance.2 In order to maintain your health and weight, you need to engage in moderate-intensity physical activity for 150 minutes each week. Moderate-intensity activities include walking briskly, tennis, general gardening, biking slower than 10 miles per hour and ballroom dancing.3 If you find yourself sitting most of the time, do your best to incorporate movement into your day in little ways. Anything counts!

5 Moderate-Intensity Physical Activities

  1. Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  2. Park farther away in the parking lot
  3. Walk or bike to the office if you live in an urban area
  4. Play outside with your kids instead of watching TV (maybe act out their favorite show together!)
  5. Take a walk when your children are at sports practice

Movement should be fun! Find an activity that you actually enjoy rather than forcing yourself to do something that you find yourself dreading. Along with a balanced diet, these types of activities contribute to weight maintenance, bone and muscle strength and also help reduce the risk of developing many types of cardiovascular disease, cancer and illnesses.

 

1 Silver MA, Mitchell MS, et al. “Sedentary Time and Its Association With Risk for Disease Incidence, Mortality, and Hospitalization in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.” Annals of Internal Medicine. 2015; 162: 123-132. View

2 The Four Elements of Fitness. Move! (2015). View

3 Measuring Physical Activity Intensity. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). View

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