When you were younger, were you told to stop wiggling around and sit still? Turns out that may not be a good thing to do at all. Dr. James Levine, an expert on understanding the role that physical activity plays in our daily lives, drew a horrifying parallel when he remarked that “you’re basically sitting yourself into a coffin” when you sit down. I don’t know about you, but that makes me want to stand up ASAP or maybe even start running – any direction will do!
I knew that sitting wasn’t the greatest thing that you could do. That being said, I didn’t know that sitting is killing me by shortening my lifespan. Not surprisingly, this leads me to try to stand up and type. Unfortunately, that didn’t really work out very well. So I’m sitting down again (but still wishing that I was standing up) to tell you that data supports the fact that being sedentary is lethal. Perhaps even more shocking, regardless of your exercise routine, the more you sit, the higher your risk of premature death is. There are numerous studies which have linked sitting with a wide range of health concerns including obesity, metabolic syndrome, increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat and abnormal cholesterol levels.
Our bodies are meant to move, and from a physical perspective, sitting only hurts us. That being said, many people have careers that keep them chained to their desk and the increasing amount of technology only increases this. Frighteningly, lack of movement has a lot of far reaching negative consequences, like osteoarthritis and degenerative disc disease to name a few. Yes, there are solutions like stand up desk and treadmill desks, but those changes are not easy ones to make on an individual basis.
What can you do? Get up and move as often as you can. Stand up to eat lunch. Instead of saying let’s sit down and talk about this, stand up for your conversation. Walk around. Get burning calories and help prevent muscle degeneration and arthritis by moving. The more you move and exercise, the better it is for you. There is a lot of information about this out there. On November 20, 2013, Helen Vanderberg wrote an article for the Calgary Herald entitled “Sitting is killing you, in more ways than you might think” and I learnt a lot (and scared myself a bunch!) while I was sitting and reading it.
The bottom line? You can get back to your childhood and fidget whenever possible and know that it is good for you.