get up off that thing
November 2, 2012

Get Up Off That Thing!

You know that woman at work who is always talking about her workout, or how healthy she is? You know the one I’m talking about, she’s always doing Pilates or yoga or running a 10k for the fun of it. She eats organic, or she might even be vegan. You look at her and wish you could be that healthy, right?

It’s okay, it’s normal to be jealous, especially if you are like me: LAZY! I mean, I’ve been exercising lately. I’ve been walking 2-3 miles a day, and I’ve been damned proud of that. But what do I do with the rest of my day? I sit on my ass and work, or play online, or knit, or watch TV…and the list goes on.

Sitting is one of the worst things you can do yourself, new studies are showing. Earlier this month, Lee Rannals told readers that “the average adult spends 50-70% of their time sitting,” and those people have a “two-fold increase in their risk of diabetes, heart disease and death.”

Let me say that again. You are TWICE as likely to die because you sit down most of your day. That vegan, exercise freak lady is starting to look even better, right? Here’s the deal, though. She IS healthier than you, or me. When she’s not at work, or watching TV, she’s out there working her body and eating better. Notice I said when she’s NOT doing those things. That means when she is, she is sitting.

A new study from Northwestern University and the Pennington Biomedical Research Center is showing that even that dedicated, and annoying, exerciser spends the rest of her day sitting on her behind, putting her at just as much risk for health problems.

The government’s Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults get up and move for at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise a week. That’s a WHOPPING 22 minutes a day.   Really? 22 minutes a day is going to make us healthy?

The study looked at 91 women between the ages of 40 and 75 who met or exceeded this recommendation and found that they STILL spent an average of 9 hours a day on their rear ends.

“I think some people assume, ‘If I’m getting my 30 to 40 minutes of physical activity a day, I’m doing what I need to do for my health,’” Lynette L. Craft, of Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine said. “Of course, exercise is very important and is associated with many positive health benefits, but negative health consequences are associated with prolonged sitting, and this study shows that just because you’re physically active doesn’t mean you’re sitting less.”

So the truth is, you have less reason to be jealous of that other woman than you thought. She’s spending all her work and leisure time sitting just like you are. The problem is, you are both endangering your health.

The answer is pretty common sense. GET UP! Stop sitting so much. Walk around when you talk on the phone, don’t keep snacks at your desk so that when you want something you have to get up and go get it. Find ways to get moving rather than sitting. You could get a pedometer, or put one on your smart phone, and try to get in 10,000 steps a day. Whatever it takes to get you up and moving more.

Image Credit: Yuri Arcurs/Shutterstock

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