Sitting for long hours in the workplace, when watching television, or in a car can have dangerous health consequences and even prove life-threatening. Many studies have pointed out the dangers of prolonged sitting, indicating that inactivity is linked to a significantly higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer and depression, as well as muscle and joint problems. A person who spends more time sitting all through the day has higher risks of death from any cause. A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine reported that each hour spent watching television after the age of 25 reduces your life expectancy by nearly 22 minutes! While you can minimize the time spent sitting in front of the TV or in your leisure time, this may not be easy or practical if you have a desk job.
To reduce the effects of continuous sitting, healthcare experts recommend a simple strategy – get up and move. The goal should be to engage in light intensity activities during the course an 8-hour day. Harvard Health recently reported on a study published in The Lancet which suggests that spending 60-70 minutes a day on moderate physical activity eliminates the risk of death related to sitting, even from sitting for more than eight hours per day. Such moderate exercise includes walking to work, walking the dog, riding a stationary bike, line dancing, golf or softball, doubles tennis, or coaching sports.
If you can’t find time for these activities at a stretch, you can break up the exercise and spread it across the day. When you sit, blood flow slows and muscles burn less fat, making it easier for your arteries to get clogged. Even hourly breaks of light activity can reduce these negative impacts.
Understand that even a little bit of movement helps and take steps to get your daily dose of physical activity to combat the harms of prolonged sitting.