Sunday, February 27, 2011

Posture and Sitting Series: Article II – Sitting Too Much May Kill You

Posture and Sitting Series: Article II – Sitting Too Much May Kill You
As we have pointed out many times in this blogs history, it is important to meet certain requirements in order to be considered an active adult.  We can recognize that if a person is to work out for 45-60 minutes each day they receive many health benefits including but not limited to controlling weight, decreasing blood pressure, and relieving physical and mental stress. But the question that remains is "What are you doing the other 14-16 hours of the day?"

In the past we used to judge ones fitness level strictly based on the amount that they worked out.  "In simple terms, if you were exercising for 60+ minutes/day, you were considered physically active. If you were exercising 10 minutes/day, you were sedentary."1  And by association those who were physically active where healthy and those who were sedentary sat too much throughout the day which made them unhealthy.  But in the true meaning, sedentary means any time that you are sitting.  So that person that is working out 60+ minutes/day may be sedentary if he or she is sitting for the other 16 hours of the day.  "Thus, to quote researcher Marc Hamilton, sitting too much is not the same as exercising too little."1  This is a very important statement.

Multiple studies have shown that sitting too much, disregarding the amount of physical activity one gets can kill you.  A study by Katzmarzyk et al. (2009) showed that those patients with common illnesses who sat the most throughout their day were 50% more likely to die upon follow-up even when controlling for many factors such as smoking, age, and physical activity levels.  Another study by Genevieve Healy et al. (2008) found that "The greater the number of breaks taken from sedentary behavior, the lower the waist circumference, body mass index, as well as blood lipids and glucose tolerance."1
Many more studies on this subject can be found at Scientific American.

Now just sit there for a second (no pun intended) and think about your daily activities.  Let me guess, you sit most of the day.  You are not alone, western society sits most of the day, it's how our lives are formed.  We sit at work, sit in our car, sit to read and write emails, and I bet your are sitting right now to read a blog on how sitting too much can kill you.  So for now, get up and move around.  You life depends on it.


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