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Wendy Bumgardner

Dangers of Sitting Too Much

By January 21, 2010

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If you make an effort to get in 30-60 minutes of moderate exercise a day, but you spend much of the rest of the day sitting, you may be at increased risk of metabolic syndrome and death, according to an editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

"Recent, observational studies have suggested that prolonged bouts of sitting time and lack of whole-body muscular movement are strongly associated with obesity, abnormal glucose metabolism, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk and cancer, as well as total mortality independent of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity," say the authors, Elin Ekblom-Bak, Mai-Lis HellÚnius and Bj÷rn Ekblom.
Source: Are we facing a new paradigm of inactivity physiology? .pdf

For those of us who spend long hours working at a desk or computer, and lolling in front of a TV, that is a wake-up call. Evidence is pointing towards activity breaks as necessary for health. I have 10 tips to stop sitting still, which I wrote after earlier research was published in 2007. Some folks have switched to a treadmill desk. But I think the best solution is still to wear a pedometer that nags you to get in more steps.

Do you have a computer program or iPhone app that you like to remind you to get up, stretch, move around or take a break?

January 21, 2010 at 12:33 pm
(1) Laura Dolson says:

I have a computer program called “RSI Guard” that I originally got to help me deal with arm pain from too much time at the keyboard, but it is great for getting me out of my chair as well. It times your breaks according either to how you set it, or according to how much you’re using your mouse and keyboard. And it gives you a message to “stretch, get up, and walk around”. You can also set it to give you more frequent “mini-breaks” with helpful reminders of your own choosing. I’ve used it for 9 years and have never had a return of my RSI.

January 21, 2010 at 12:35 pm
(2) Laura Dolson says:

I forgot to say, when you’re on a break, you aren’t allowed to type or mouse – it locks your keyboard. You can put the break off to an extent if you’re in the middle of something.

January 23, 2010 at 11:17 pm
(3) Glenda says:

I was a nurse most of my life and saw people with illnesses that resulted from a sedentary life style. One hundred years ago people worked on the family farm or twelve hour shifts in factories. Getting a desk job was thought to be far superior to “laboring” for a living. My parents thought the same and each spent about twenty years in severely declining health. Even now, as I work in housekeeping at a neighborhood university, my co-workers try everything possible to reduce body movement and can’t understand why I move from the time I get to work until the time I go home, minus breaks. I even walk to and from work. Most of my co-workers in the same department are overweight, have acute and chronic illnesses, smoke and want sympathy. I had polio when I was a year and a half old and walking was my therapy, so I must keep moving or I don’t feel well and am crabby:)

February 2, 2010 at 9:35 pm
(4) Gerry Teigrob says:

I need to bring my pedometer to work more – it will force me to be active. I tend to feel like I am sitting longer and am not getting up like I used to…and anyone who has had a clot before in their leg – guess what it came from? Sitting for long periods. Even being athletic doesn’t mean a thing if all you do is sit all day. I learned the hard way…just a word to the wise!

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