Get Off Your Butts To Prevent Chronic Disease
May 23, 2013

Get Off Your Butts To Prevent Chronic Disease

I have never really been one to just sit around. I mean, I even chose a profession where I would be up more than just sitting behind my desk. I have almost always exercised on a regular basis. I hike and fish even in my leisure time, and I love to walk about when I am visiting a new city. True, I like to laze about every now and again just like most people, but these moments are not often. In fact, even when I am busy writing (whether that be blogs or articles for redOrbit, short stories, or creative nonfiction), I break every so often to take a quick walk around the block, go for a jog, or just stand and stretch for a bit.

No, sitting is not something I do easily. And apparently that is a good thing. Back in February, redOrbit showed that too much sitting could kill us by leading to chronic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The study performed by Kansas State University researcher Richard Rosenkranz and collaborators Emma George and Gregory Kolt from the University of Western Sydney focused on the effect of sitting on middle-aged Australian males, particularly ages 45-65.

Here is what they did: “Rosenkranz’ team studied more than 63,000 Australian men between the ages of 45 and 65 years old. These men first answered questions about any existing chronic diseases and reported their daily sitting time. These sitting times were divided into four different categories: Less than four hours a day, four to six hours a day, and more than eight hours every day.”

And here is what they found: “Those who reported resting on their rump less than four hours a day were not any more likely to come down with a chronic disease. Any more than four hours of sitting time a day, however, and these men saw an increased risk of cancer, heart disease and high blood pressure. And the longer these men spent sitting, the more pronounced this risk became.”

The majority of these men held jobs that nearly demanded they sit. They may have had office jobs or been truck drivers, but that was not the only issue. The fact that these men had jobs that required them to sit was a huge problem, but it was the fact that after the men left the job they did not engage in physical activity otherwise. So, they sat at work and sat at home. All that sitting put the men at the highest risk for chronic disease.

So what can we all do about the damages of sitting? Well, we could purchase or make a treadmill desk (click here or here for my previous blogs about these). We could also be sure to take ten minutes every hour or so to go walk around the office or stretch or even do some low-key yoga. Each of these could help combat the detriments of sitting too much.

We also need to start being more active away from work. Whether we walk, jog, run, bike, swim, play sports, hike, fish, or whatever, we must incorporate more activity at home. Not only will this help combat chronic diseases, but it can also help us

  1. deal with stress,
  2. lose or maintain weight, and
  3. just feel good.

If we have jobs that require sitting, we must take actions so that we do not fall prey to chronic diseases. We deserve that.

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Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

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