New Evidence: Sitting on Your Butt May Kill You!
by Professor Jay
I’m not talking about meeting the one hour a day physical activity guideline. I’m talking about literally getting off of your butt. A study in 2009, at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, looked at the link between time spent sitting and mortality in over 17,000 Canadians. As you might guess, there was a direct relationship between the “amount of time spent sitting” and the risk for cardiovascular disease. But, the following is what is startling. Individuals who sat the most hours in a day were roughly 50% more likely to die during the follow-up period than those who sat the least, even after controlling for smoking, age, body weight, alcohol intake, and physical activity!
In another study, it was found that each hour spent watching TV (i.e. sitting on your butt) is associated with an 11% increase in mortality regardless of gender, waist circumference, age, and physical activity. And, in general, numerous studies have linked a sedentary lifestyle (sitting on your butt) with obesity, cardiovascular risks, and certain cancers.
It gets even crazier! The Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study revealed that those individuals who took more breaks from sitting throughout the day – even if it was just getting up to go to the bathroom – had lower Body Mass Index’s (BMI’s), as well as more desirable lipid and glucose blood levels.
It is thought that the total lack of using skeletal muscle, which occurs with sitting on your butt, causes rapid physiological changes in the muscle. These changes in the muscle, such as not being able to take up fat and glucose as readily from the blood, are responsible for the health risks.
Again, this is not about getting enough exercise, which also has health risks associated with it. This is about sitting on your butt too much. So get up! Give your butt regular breaks. Take a stroll down the hall. And please, understand that this applies to children as well. Limit the screen time, i.e. TV, computers, etc. Get them active. These studies confirm that even small changes in our daily activities can go a long way to better health.
Some small things you can do to increase daily activity:
Park in the back of the store parking lot and walk
Take the stairs
When at the mall walk a lap between each store you go into to shop
March in place during TV commercials
Take your dog for a walk
Take a family walk
Any activity you do that doesn’t include sitting on your butt will increase your overall health. Start small – it really will make a difference.
Further Reading Inactivity Disease
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