Are you sitting down while you read this?
While tidying my study, sorting through piles and piles of accumulated paper from the last 12 months or so, I came across a printed transcript from a TV show. This Catalyst story reported on claims that sitting for too long each day has serious health implications.
I’m sitting while I write this.
Sitting for longer than you sleep
It is claimed that people who sat for more than eight hours a day were at a 15 percent greater risk of early death. While that’s uncomfortable, the real problem is that doing the recommended amount of daily exercise doesn’t cancel the negative impact of sitting.
Move It. Move It.
The key is to break up the sitting time. Apparently … “A light two minute walk every twenty minutes is enough to lower blood glucose levels by around 30 percent.”
When are we most at risk?
The idea is to work out when we are sitting for too long. Watching TV in the evening. Going to the movies. Watching a game of sport. At the computer (be it at work or at home). Video games. Travelling.
For me, there are three problem areas – driving to and from work, sitting at the computer (anywhere) and watching TV in the evening.
Making it work
My Year of Sweat resolution aims to increase the amount of physical activity in my life. Two every Twenty is worth a try. A quick glance at the clock tells me I’ve been stationary long past the twenty minute mark. The next step is to work out how far two minutes will take me. Is it just to the corner or back? How many times around the yard? How many times do I circle my work building or how many flights of stairs? Will two minutes feel longer, or shorter, than it actually is?
Movement loves sound, and sound loves movement. There are a couple of options. There’s “I like to move it move it” from the soundtrack of the movie Madagascar? Or for older folks, perhaps a little Cliff Richard. Do you remember “Come on pretty baby let’s move it and groove it”? It was Cliff’s first hit and possibly the UK’s first proper rock and roll record, way back in 1958.
Do no harm
Changes for the better must also do no harm. Constantly stopping what we are doing will have a negative impact on our attention spans. A good attention span is required for memory and other cognitive functions. Actions that promote attention seem to require intent focus on one thing for an extended period of time. Check out a previous post on this subject – Blogging for Attention.
Perhaps, when I get up for that two minutes of activity, I just leave my brain doing whatever it was doing. It’s only my body that needs to move around for the health benefits.
Now, if I could just switch off the soundtrack from Madagascar … Move It. Move It.
- Catalyst episode “Sitting is deadly”, broadcast on Thursday, 16 August 2012, http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/3568627.htm
- Baker Heart & Diabetes Institute, 2012, “Research shows significant health benefits for overweight adults in breaking up prolonged sitting”, http://www.bakeridi.edu.au/newsarticle.aspx?id=275
The featured image for this post is the most uncomfortable sculpture I think I’ve seen. The sheep kinda looks happy, but I don’t remember them enjoying any experience that put all four legs in the air at once. I’ve used it here to imprint upon my mind that sitting is something to be avoided whenever possible.