Over the years the world of work has changed to represent cognitive employment in favor of careers requiring physical labor. Many of us spend a large proportion of our work day sitting down. We then travel home, sitting down or socialise (TV, theatre, drinks, dinner etc.) sitting down. Extended periods of sitting have become the norm.
So? What’s so bad about it?
According to Get Britain Standing, (a campaign aiming to raise awareness and educate against the dangers of sedentary working), when you sit the enzymes that help to break down fat (lipoprotein lipase) drop by 90% and sitting for an excess of 4 hours at work increases your risk of heart disease by 100%. Other health risks include a reduced metabolic rate, disrupted blood sugar levels, reduce insulin levels, increased hypertension (blood pressure) and decreased leg muscles use. More specifically sedentary behavior has been linked to an increased risk of heart/cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, obesity, high blood pressure, muscle degeneration, back ache/neck pain, osteoporosis, depression* and dementia*
*Denotes suggestion of indirect association not a definitive relationship.
Don’t underestimate how important being active during your day really is. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated a lack of physical activity as one of the top four leading causes of preventable death worldwide, ahead of high cholesterol, alcohol and drug abuse.
This doesn’t apply to me does it?
For those of you reading this and thinking ‘I reach &/or exceed the recommended daily/weekly exercise/activity guidelines’ that’s great and you should continue to do so. However, research has suggested that remaining seated for too long is bad for your health, regardless of how much exercise you do outside of your time spent sitting down. For example if you walk or go to the gym for 30-45 minutes but remain seated the rest of the day your lifestyle would still be described as sedentary. The associated health risks of being sedentary are not exclusive to those who appear to be overweight or obese. A slim person who is very inactive also has a higher risk of the previously mentioned conditions.
“All-day movement is now seen as being just as important for the maintenance of good health as traditional exercise.” Professor Stuart Biddle (A leading Professor of Active Living & Public Health)
Thankfully there are numerous solutions available to us to reduce our sedentary behaviours. We have always been advocates of moving more so look out for our next post which will cover a comprehensive list of simple changes anyone can make to decrease time spent sitting down each day.