Some years back, I took an airplane trip of a few thousand miles. I had heard that it was a good idea to move around in order to prevent a clot in the leg. That could eventually lead to a stroke.
In the subsequent years, that warning has become more and more mainstream. Now, I stand up and even walk the aisle on even “short” trips of a couple of hours.
Last night, I heard a blurb on the radio emphasizing the dangers of sitting too long. The warning goes out to both men and women. Someone even gave it a name – “Sitting disease.”
Sitting disease? Yes, sitting disease!
I did a little research and found these articles. The first is from USA TODAY for 20 Jan 2015 – The second article is from USA TODAY for 31 March 2014.
“Excessive sitting linked to risk of heart disease, cancer.”
More evidence that even if we work out, sitting around the rest of the time puts our health at risk.
“Our study showed that sitting time was associated with a higher risk of all causes of mortality: heart disease mortality, cancer mortality and diabetes — independent of exercise,” said David Alter of the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, who led the research.
Still, some exercise is better than none.
Researchers found that while prolonged sedentary time was harmful for everyone, the risks were less pronounced in people who participated in higher levels of physical activity. But don’t get too smug.
“Just because we exercise a half-hour, an hour a day, does not mean we can sit for the other 23 hours of the day,” he warned.
More than half of the average person’s waking hours are spent sitting. Study authors say that promoting health messages about reducing sedentary time are as important as promoting physical activity.
“There are simple things we can do. Every half an hour we can stand up for two to three minutes at a time.”
Alter advises his patients to start slowly. Try to reduce sitting times by 15 to 20 minutes per day and increase that week to week. Ultimately, he says, you should aim for two to three fewer sedentary hours in your day.
Both sitting too much and exercising too little increase the risk of heart failure.
The risk of heart failure was more than double for men who sat for at least five hours a day outside of work and didn’t exercise very much compared with men who were physically active and sat for less than two hours a day. . . . Research has linked too much sitting to increased risk of type 2 diabetes and death from cancer, heart disease and stroke. It may affect mood and creativity. One study showed that if most people spent fewer than three hours a day sitting, it would add two years to the average life expectancy in this country. . . .
Excuse me, I have to stand up.