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Wednesday, 11 April 2018 15:43

Sitting is the New Smoking

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Remember when smoking was considered one of the worst things you could for your health? It's still bad of course, but now researchers have found another equally as bad health hazard. 
Did you know that as we became more sedentary, death rates increase? Did you know that the negative effects of sitting are not lessened by age, sex, race, BMI or even exercise habits? Many mistakenly think that even if you exercise regularly this can overcome the effects of sitting at a computer all day. Not so. No matter how much you exercise, sitting for excessively long periods of time is simply an actual risk factor for early death and aging more quickly, a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found.
It might even seem discouraging when you are a regular exerciser, this hits you in the face. But apparently there's a very direct relationship between time spent sitting and your risk of early mortality of any cause, researchers said, based on a study of nearly 8,000 adults. It's a fact, as your total sitting time increases, so does your risk of an early death. And get this, "Based on existing evidence, it was found that U.S. adults are sedentary for about six to eight hours a day,…. "Adults 60 years and older spend between 8.5 – 9.6 hours a day in sedentary time." That really is a lot of sitting time.
"Regardless of how much physical activity someone gets, this prolonged type of sedentary time could negatively impact the health of your heart and blood vessels," said Deborah Rohm Young, Ph.D., director of behavioral research at Kaiser Permanente Southern California in Pasadena and chair of the new scientific statement published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.
But there is a silver lining, people who sit for less than 30 minutes at a time had the lowest risk for dying sooner. On this note the American Heart Association encourages us to sit less and move more. So, what does this mean exactly then?
New guidelines for this are actually quite simple: Something specific according to Keith Diaz, lead author of the new study and an associate research scientist in the Columbia University Department of Medicine, "For every 30 consecutive minutes of sitting, stand up and move/walk for five minutes at a brisk pace to reduce the health risks from sitting…" Simple enough, when you are working at your desk, after a half hour make it a point to get up and walk for five minutes. That's pretty clear. The problem for most people though, is how can you manage to get all your work done, if every half hour you are up and about? It would seem like a distraction and it takes time to settle back into work mode after these distractions, so work productivity might go down - or would it be possible that the tiny breaks would keep a person more alert and motivated to get  work done as usual?
Maybe this could start more when we are at home when this is more doable. How many hours are you watching TV, on Face book, talking or texting on the phone, or playing games? Certainly we could all spend less time on those activities, right? Start at home first and hopefully we can all figure a way to move more in our work environments. Just this one simple (but not always easy) action can make a huge difference in how long we live, and how we age.
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