Sit less, move more

We need to sit less and move more. It’s a message I can’t stress enough.

Back in February, I told you about a new medical condition known as “sitting disease.” Researchers coined this new term after they discovered that sitting for too long–behind a desk, at a computer, in front of the TV–can actually increase your risk of cancer.

Now another new study shows that the consequences of “sitting disease” extend beyond cancer. According to these researchers, sitting for more than three hours per day decreases life expectancy by two years. And watching TV for more than two hours a day results in losing another year and a half.

But what was especially frightening about this study was that the researchers found these results held true even if a person exercised regularly.

Which means that the more you sit, the more likely it is that bad things will happen in the body. We are not genetically programmed to sit so much. Simple as that.

The good news is, the cure for “sitting disease” couldn’t be easier.

If you have something you need to discuss with a colleague, why not get up to discuss it rather than e-mailing them? I have one patient who takes her afternoon meetings outside while walking around the block a few times, rather than sitting in her office. But these sorts of ideas aren’t limited to offices.

If you’re at home having a phone conversation, walk around–or, at the very least, stay standing up–while you’re talking. When you get home from the supermarket, bring in one bag at a time from the car. Or, better yet, if there’s a market nearby, walk there and back to get what you need a few times a week.

Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, make a point to get up and move around every hour. Your life may literally depend on it.

“Sedentary behaviour and life expectancy in the USA: a cause-deleted life table analysis,” BMJ Open 2012; 2(4)