They say sitting is the new smoking.
But in my view it is much worse. Why? Because it is sooooooo ubiquitous. Pretty much every aspect of our lives is centred around sitting: our work, our travel, our leisure. Our society is structured in such a way that we need to make a special effort to reduce the amount we sit.
And it's imperative for our health that we do!
The research shows that there are two ways we can reduce the risks of all the sitting we do each day:
The first way we can reduce our risk is to break up our sitting, and incorporate as much movement into our daily routines as possible.
That might mean, making an effort to tae the stairs instead of the lift at work, to have walking meetings and catch-ups instead of sitting ones, to stand up when we are on the phone. I invested in a treadmill desk a couple of years ago, and I've found it to be a game-changer; not only did my daily step-count increase, my neck and back pain reduced too!
Another important way we can offset all the sitting we do is to dedicate time EVERY DAY to exercise.
A recent high-quality study published in The Lancet found that the risks associated with sitting for 8 hours each day could be reduced by undertaking an hour of moderate-intensity exercise - that equates to walking at around 5.6km/h or cycling at around 16km/h.
Now if you can't commit to a full hour of exercise every day, don't give up in despair. The study found that even lower durations of exercise helped reduce health risks, albeit to a lesser extent.
So get moving! In whatever way you can, as often as you can!
Look for ways to squeeze movement into your day - every day!
Check out this great short video on the hidden health risks of sitting:
Ekelund, Ulf, et al. "Does physical activity attenuate, or even eliminate, the detrimental association of sitting time with mortality? A harmonised meta-analysis of data from more than 1 million men and women." The Lancet 388.10051 (2016): 1302-1310.