Recent research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine and the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, suggests that people who spend a lot of time sitting (causing prolonged lack of whole body muscle movement) are more likely to be overweight, have heart attacks, possibly certain types of cancer, and even die sooner than those who do less sitting. And that is regardless of whether or not someone exercises.
Figures from a U.S. survey in 2003-2004 found Americans spend more than half their time sitting, from working at their desks, sitting in cars, and watching television.
After four hours of sitting (resulting in complete muscle inactivity), the body starts sending signals to shut down glucose and fat regulating genes. According to one study, a woman’s risk of metabolic syndrome, a precursor to diabetes and heart disease, jumps 26% for every extra hour she sits in front of the TV. Another study shows that sitting 6 or more hours a day makes someone up to 40% likelier to die within 15 years than someone who sits less than 3 hours a day. Shocking isn’t it?
There are guidelines suggesting we exercise at least 30 minutes a day but what about guidelines limiting the amount of consecutive sitting we do? Until there is such advice, the more you can get up and take breaks from sitting during your work, the better. You can also climb the stairs instead of taking the elevator, walk to the store rather than drive, or take a walk around your neighborhood after dinner. Last but not least, exercise more vigorously at least 3 times a week to counter some of the negative effects incurred by those hours or inactivity.
So how long do you spend sitting each day?
Aerobic exercise AND strength training are essential to staying strong and vital as we encounter life’s daily stresses (which now apparently includes all that sitting). Come try a Spin Class with Sara or sign up for an “orientation” session to experience the Slow-Motion StrengthTraining method. The Ultimate Fitness team is here to keep you fit and healthy!