In the past 30 years, we’ve become a more sedentary society. We watch television and spend time in front of a computer both at home and at work. Would you believe that the typical adult spends 90 percent of their time sitting?
Neil Wagner wrote an article in the April 19 issue of The Atlantic entitled “Confirmed: He Who Sits the Most Dies the Soonest.” It’s a summary of a study of over 200,000 Australians in which researchers confirmed that sitting is bad for your health. This isn’t the first of such studies. In 2010, The New York Times ran “Stand Up While You Read This!” — which examines how sitting increases the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, a variety of cancers and an early death.
Even those who exercise a lot are not immune to the impact of sedentary hours. While exercise certainly helps, it doesn’t totally eliminate the impact of sitting for long periods. The Australian study indicated that those who sit for 11 hours or more a day had a 40 percent greater risk of dying in the next three years compared to those who sit for four hours or less per day. This was after adjusting for such factors as age, weight, health, physical activity, etc.
When I read this news, I decided to do something: I installed a standing option onto my desk, where I can raise a platform, stand up, work on my computer and even read and mark articles and books. Or I can lower it when I tire of standing and work seated at my desk. I like the flexibility because I don’t want to stand all of the time.
How many hours a day do you spend sitting? Is it absolutely necessary that you sit all of those hours?