What are you doing right now?
Literally this second.
You’re most likely sitting at a computer screen and reading this article. And it turns out sitting is a habit that you need to break.
You know it’s bad for you… The tight muscles, the hunched, bent forward position. The slow degeneration of insulation between the discs in your back.
But the executive editor of the Harvard Heart Letter says it’s worse than we ever imagined. Quoting the Annals of Internal Medicine, she indicated the risk for cancer, type 2 diabetes and even heart disease:
According to the report, published in this week’s Annals of Internal Medicine, more than half of the average person’s waking hours are spent sitting: watching television, working at a computer, commuting, or doing other physically inactive pursuits. But all that sitting could be sending us to an early grave—even those folks who exercise up to an hour a day, say the Canadian researchers who did the study.
Their findings were gleaned from 47 studies that looked at the health effects of sedentary behavior. The researchers adjusted for other types of activity people did, from leisure-time activities to vigorous exercise. Over the course of these studies, people who sat for prolonged periods of time had a higher risk of dying from all causes — even those who exercised regularly. The negative effects were even more pronounced in people who did little or no exercise.
The current study documented higher rates of type 2 diabetes, cancer, and cancer-related deaths in very sedentary people. An unrelated study has linked more sitting and less activity with an increased risk of developing dementia.
This is really bad news. It’s not just that we sit at the computer all day. We come home and then sit and watch tv. We sit to play board games. We sit to drive. We sit at restaurants. We sit at sporting events.
This is an epidemic. We’re collapsing in on ourselves with our sitting and we’re not doing much to change things. Even an hour of exercise can’t reverse this trend. It just doesn’t have the time to change it. Think about it. If you’re sitting for hours upon hours, how will one small block of not-sitting really fix it?
No, you must change your work habits. If you’re at a computer desk all day, try and get your employer to get you a standing desk. If they won’t, consider building one. The easiest thing to do is take a few filing boxes and stack them on your regular desk and use magazines to get the keyboard to the right height. You just have to figure out how to get the monitor at eye level.
You could also buy one for $350 to start.
Regardless, you must do something to correct the perma-sit culture you’ve found yourself in.