Health experts have issued a new warning. Are you sitting down? If you are, that’s the problem. According to a recent article by the Associated Press, sitting is deadly!
According to the article, scientists are warning that sitting for prolong periods of time, even if you exercise regularly, could be bad for your health. They also stress that it doesn’t matter where the sitting takes place, at the office, at school, in the car, in front of the television or a computer, just the overall number of hours it occurs.
Although the research is preliminary, several studies suggest people who spend most of their days sitting are more likely to be fat, have a heart attack or even die. I’m sure this research doesn’t come as much of a surprise to most of us. However, what I did find interesting is was that Elin Ekblom-Bak of the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences published an editorial this week in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Her editorial suggests that authorities rethink how they define physical activity to highlight the dangers of sitting. While health officials have issued guidelines recommending minimum amounts of physical activity, they haven’t suggested people try to limit how much time they spend in a seated position. According to Ekblom-Bak, after four hours of sitting, the body starts to send harmful signals. She also claims that genes regulating the amount of glucose and fat in the body start to shut down.
For people who exercise, spending long stretches of time sitting at a desk is still harmful. Tim Armstrong, a physical activity expert at the World Health Organizations, said people who exercise every day, but still spend a lot of time sitting, might get more benefit if that exercise were spread across the day, rather than in a single bout.
I don’t know about you, but I could handle a workday where I work for a few hours, take a long bike ride, come back to the office and work a few more. It will be interesting to see what further research on this subject shows. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve been sitting too long and I need to get up and move for health reasons.