Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital
Stand up and Sit Less!
Are you sitting too much? It may seem odd, but sitting too much is bad for your health! Some health experts even compare excessive sitting to smoking in its negative effects on health. But why is too much sitting bad for us and how much is too much?
Studies show long stretches of sitting slows your metabolism and causes the body to store fat. According to the Mayo Institute, sitting for long periods can lead to obesity and “metabolic syndrome” which is a cluster of health problems including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol and excess fat around the waist. These problems all increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer. Too much sitting can also weaken bones and muscles.
Fortunately, there are simple things we can do to prevent these problems. Not surprisingly, most involve standing up and moving more. You don’t have to join a gym! Simply choosing to stand more while waiting for an appointment or watching TV can help.
If you have a job that requires sitting at a desk for long periods of time, investigate getting a “standing desk” in which the work surface is raised so you can work comfortably while standing. Another option is to follow the “20-8-2” rule. This means for every ½ hour at home or work allow 20 minutes of sitting, but schedule in 8 minutes of standing and 2 minutes of moving around. By following this rule, we allow our bodies to experience the effects of gravity, which can help keep muscles and bones strong while also revving up our metabolism. So set a timer on your smartphone or just use a simple kitchen timer to remind you to stand and move around for 10 minutes every ½ hour.
Get others involved! Ask family, friends and coworkers to meet you for several short walks throughout the day. Put a treadmill or exercise bike in front of the television and use them during the commercials!
The bottom line is “Get off your bottom” and get more physical activity. Your body will thank you!
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