A growing body of research is showing us that sitting is one of the worst things we can do for our bodies. The problem is that it requires very little effort and we like to do it for incredibly long stretches of time. The average American works in front of a computer, checks his mobile phone over 100 times a day, and watches 5 hours of TV. Basically, everybody stays inside wrapped in the warm, electromagnetic glow of digital devices.
And you’re getting fat, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer as a result. Sitting is associated with a 24% increased risk of colon cancer, a 32% increased risk of endometrial cancer, and a 21% increased risk of lung cancer. And oh yeah, even if you manage to survive all of that, you still die earlier than somebody who spends more of their life standing.
The problem is, getting a gym membership and running a few miles a week won’t stop the problem. It doesn’t even slow it down. Researchers have found that people exercise to equal the amount of effort used by somebody who spends their days standing or moving to have no effect on lowering any of their risks of deleterious health effects.
So what’s a modern American to do? Accept slow death by sitting and order some food online to celebrate?
How do we keep sitting from killing us?
By now, most of us have heard about standing desks. While that’s a possibility, let’s be honest. Nobody reading this is going to ditch their desk chair for a desk on a treadmill.
What we need is an easy rule of thumb to follow that’s not too arduous.
As it turns out, recent research may have found one. Without getting into the details, the issue involves maintaining a glucose tolerance. According to Australian research in 2012, the key is to, walk 1 minute and 30 seconds for every 30 minutes during a typical 9-hour sitting period. The key is that the walking has to be done throughout the day. It can’t be saved up for the gym after work is over.
What this amounts to is you need to take a walk twice an hour.
So the next time you’re wandering the halls at work and your boss asks you what you’re doing, tell him you’re lowering your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer by taking a brief stroll.