How We Might Win the Sitting/Moving Battle
By Sandy Schroeder
Most of us have absorbed the health news that excessive sitting affects our bodies, and can impact our health. Some of us have resorted to using standing computer workstations. Others have tried walking meetings and rearranging schedules to stay more mobile.
But the situation may not be completely hopeless. Even though we have to sit for long periods in our jobs, at a computer, or while driving, new research says staying active can still help.
New Research on Sitting
Research in the July issue of Lancet that involved more than a million people, discovered 60 to 75 minutes of activity -- walking to the park, walking the dog, biking, dancing or participating in favorite sports -- may help to cut the risk of sitting even when it spills over beyond eight hours a day. As always, the activities should be approved by your physician first, but anything that you do to stay active may be a help.
However, before you give a happy sigh and go back to what you were sitting and doing, you probably should look closer at more of the details of this research. Here are some of the high points:
What 25 Minutes Does – Managing to do just 25 minutes of movement will generate some protection for people, who sit more than eight hours a day, according to the researchers.
Movement Always Works - Even when you break it up and squeeze your activities in wherever you can, it will help fight the effects of sitting.
The Threat of TV – TV turns out to have a bigger impact. People managing to do even more than an hour a day of activity, did not cancel the risk from five or more hours of TV. Since most TV viewing happens after dinner in the evening, researchers believe there may be more negative metabolic effects. Plus, there may be additional eating.
Most Risk In Lowest Effort – Anyone who only manages five minutes of extra movement a day may be risking the biggest health impacts, according to the research. The more we sit the higher the risk.
Overall, less sitting and more activity is the target we have to shoot for, and even small boosts help. In response to Lancet’s message from researchers, we should all take a look at what we do daily. There may be simple ways to build a little more movement into your day. At work, see if you can juggle your schedule a bit. At home, consider parking a treadmill or stationary bike in front of the TV. Then use it.
However you manage to keep moving could be a big help to your health.