It’s becoming more and more apparent that sitting down is killing us.
Science is beginning to reveal the true extent of the damage our sedentary lifestyles are doing to our health. Evidence suggests that the more than seven hours the average Brit spends sitting every day could be exacting a serious toll on our bodies, increasing our risk of developing preventable diseases like heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, obesity, hypertension, osteoporosis, and backache, as well as anxiety and depression. More recently, researchers have added both cancer and non-fatty liver disease to this ever-expanding list.
For many years, doctors thought that all these problems were the result of too little time spent exercising. And, public health messages reflected this thinking, with the government telling us we should all do 150-minutes of moderate activity each week – they suggest we achieve this by doing 30-mins on most days. But what about the other 23 and a half hours a day?
Whilst being physically active is critical, it can’t make up for the damaging effects of sitting too much. That’s because a sedentary body and a standing body use energy in completely different ways, so these two behaviours, or dimensions, have independent effects on our bodies. Indeed, there are multiple independent biologically-important dimensions of physical activity and it’s these that make up the personalised multidimensional physical activity profiles developed by our partners at the University of Bath and visualised in the KiActiv solutions.
We it comes to sedentary time, we need a change in culture. Although TV watching is an obvious target – going out for a walk instead of watching TV in the evenings would definitely decrease sedentary time by an hour or two. But what about the 8-hours or more adults spend sitting behind a desk each day – decreasing this would have a much bigger impact. Children spend at least 6-hours at school each day being taught that sitting still at a desk is good – is it any wonder we carry this behaviour into adulthood. Standing up at your desk and moving around the office or classroom may seem like an oddity now, but hopefully it will be the norm in the future.
This type of culture change will take time, but we can all make changes in our own lives today, we just need to know what our current lifestyle looks like. KiActiv solutions put the data from your lifestyle in context, not only telling about your activity, but also your sedentary behaviour. Once you know when you’re sedentary and exactly how long you’re sedentary for, you can choose how you what to do to decrease your sedentary and improve your health.
Try breaking up your sitting time by moving around for 5-minutes every hour or so. You might want to hold walking meetings, get your coffee from a kitchen that’s further away or even on another floor (taking the stairs up and back down, of course), or even just fidget more – the choice is yours, just sit less and move more.