Sitting Increases Disease Risk – Can We Combat It?

According to Dr. David Alter, Senior Scientist of the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, more than half of peoples’ days is spent being sedentary. Most people spend much time working at the computer, watching TV or sitting at a desk. The problem is that sitting for long periods of time has been found to increase the risk of many diseases, including cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Researches have analyzed studies reviewing the amount of time participants spent exercising. It was discovered that those with the most sitting time were more likely to be diagnosed with a variety of diseases.

Even worse, the higher risk of disease is also associated with sitting and regular exercise. Despite the physical activity of regular exercise, it may not be enough to reduce the risk of disease. While studies led by PhD Avi Biswas of the University of Toronto confirm that the risk of disease is more pronounced for those who do little exercise, further research is needed to better understand just how much regular exercise is needed to offset the health risks associating with long periods of sitting.

Dr. Alter states that “It is not good enough to exercise for 30 minutes a day and be sedentary for 23 and half hours.” He emphasizes implementing strategies to decrease sitting times by at least two hours in a 12-hour day. The first step is to take account of setting times throughout the day. Then, set goals and take action to incorporate new behavior that leads to greater physical activity. For example, when watching TV, get up and exercise or stand during commercials. Even take a bike ride around the block during a TV commercial. Do the same thing when working at the computer.

The key to reducing the risk of disease is to add more movement to your daily life. Every bit of movement counts. Grab every chance you can to move. Take the stairs at work instead of the escalator, walk around the block during a lunch break or go to the gym. These are some great ways to sneak more movement into your day. So, what is considered a sedentary lifestyle? According to researchers in Baton Rouge and published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, sedentary is considered less than 5,000 steps a day. Be sure to increase your steps to 7,500 per day. More is even better.

In order to combat disease associated with sitting too long, look for opportunities to get up and move.