One in four Americans sit for more than 8 hours per day and it’s taking a toll on our health: tight hips, poor posture, weight gain, and increased risk of chronic disease. What can you do about it?
Many of us are probably sitting as we read this. We will probably sit for our next meeting, sit during lunch and dinner, sit during our commute home, and sit to lounge around (television, reading, etc.). You get the picture, we’re doing a lot of sitting. Well, how much sitting are we actually doing and how is this impacting our wellbeing?
The term “Sitting Disease” (aka sedentary lifestyle) is used to describe a syndrome of individuals who engage in prolonged inactivity or periods of sitting. 1 in 4 Americans sit for more than 8 hours per day according to the CDC. The convenience of technology and modern lifestyles have made us more inactive than ever and are taking a toll on our health such as tight hips, poor posture, weight gain, and increased fatigue. It can also lead to an increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.
Yes yes, so I sit a lot during the day but I also exercise a few times a week. That should count for something right? Well yes, but not quite. A 2017 study found that no matter how much you exercise, sitting for excessively long periods of time is a risk factor for an early death for any cause.
*Slowly stands up while reading this*
Ok so, if exercising regularly doesn’t entirely offset how much sitting I do, what can I do about it?
(Disclaimer: the following tips are not medical advice or a substitute for advice from your healthcare provider.)
Our bodies are meant to move. Try these tips:
- Set a reminder to get up and move every 30 minutes
- Have standing meetings
- Walk around while talking on the phone
- Park farther away
- Learn to love commercials! Use this time to stand up and move around.
- Take the stairs
- Stretch at your desk
- Have a sit-stand workstation
- Office break yoga
Torna Li, PsyD
Dr. Torna Li is the Clinical Director for California and is part of the CHE Health and Wellness Workgroup. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and 1-year-old daughter, Olive, who gives her plenty of reasons to get up and move around. She enjoys long walks, yoga, and bouldering.