We sit in the car, we sit in the office, we sit in front of the television. Have you ever figured out how much of the day you spend sitting? Australians devote 9.3 hours a day to sedentary behaviour.
Is there a price for all this? Well, it’s been recognised as a risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease (CVD), the leading cause of premature death in the USA and Europe. It seems this risk exists for those who engage in a lot of sedentary behaviour, even if they participate in exercise at other times.
Genevieve Healy, a Research Fellow at the School of Population Health at the University of Queensland, led a study into the issue, published recently in the European Heart Journal. The study found that prolonged sedentary time causes inflammation that may impact CVD risk. But it also found that the pattern of sedentary time was important — in other words, take breaks from sitting and the risk could be reduced. In their study the researchers found that those in the top quartile for taking breaks had, on average, a waist circumference 4.1cm less than those in the lower quartile.
So the message is simple — sit less, stand more. For example, download BTalk onto iTunes and spend 15 minutes a day walking round the block while you listen. Hold meetings standing up. Put a stopwatch on your chair. Go and see someone rather than send them an email. Whatever it takes, just get up more often.