Are You Sitting Your Life Away?

Have you ever found yourself sinking deeper into your comfy couch settling in for a lazy few hours of TV?

Of course we all have!

But how often do you stop to think about how many hours a day you spend sitting? And what’s the real cost of all that sedentary time?

Why do we need to though? …

An Australian study conducted in 2008 highlights the gravity of the situation. It reports that every hour of television watched after age 25 reduces the viewer’s life expectancy by 21.8 minutes, while smoking a single cigarette reduces life expectancy by only 11 minutes.

Dr. James Levine, director of the Mayo Clinic–Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative says, “Sitting is more
dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting.” He concludes simply, “We are sitting ourselves to death”. He adds to this by claiming that for every hour we sit, we lose two hours of life!

As someone who spent over two decades chained to a desk in the corporate world, I intimately understand the struggles of a sedentary lifestyle. Each day blurred into the next, with hours spent hunched over a computer screen, shackled to my chair by the demands of my job. But amidst the monotony of my deskbound existence, I couldn’t ignore the nagging question: How was this sedentary marathon impacting my health?

Here is the kicker…

The typical seated office worker faces more musculoskeletal injuries than any other industry sector worker, including construction, metal industry, and transportation workers. One researcher’s conclusion: sitting is as much an occupational risk as lifting heavy weights on the job.

If you work out for an hour a day, but sit for the remainder, that one hour doesn’t do much to counter 9+ hours of butt-in-chair.(Just like running an hour doesn’t give you a free pass to smoke.)

Bottom line: There is nothing good about prolonged, chronic sitting.

Take a moment to reflect …

How long do you spend sitting each day? Whether it’s during your daily commute, at work, during meals, or while unwinding in front of the TV, the cumulative hours add up quickly. 

Amidst the hustle and bustle of modern life, where screens dominate our attention and chairs become our constant companions, it’s easy to overlook the subtle yet significant effects of sitting stagnation. From increased risks of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and premature mortality to heightened levels of anxiety and musculoskeletal conditions, the consequences of too much sitting extend far beyond mere discomfort.

The fundamental truth … 

Movement is Life. Our bodies are designed for motion. Movement is good for us — for everything about us. And lack of movement leads to disease. By prioritizing movement in our daily routines, whether through regular exercise, active hobbies, or simply incorporating more activity into our day-to-day lives, we ignite a ripple effect that reverberates throughout our entire being.

Did you know

Awareness is the cornerstone of proactive health management. By cultivating a keen awareness of how long we sit, the postures we adopt, and the subtle cues our bodies provide, we empower ourselves to make informed choices that support our well-being. Whether it’s recognizing the strain of prolonged screen time or the importance of maintaining proper posture while seated, heightened awareness serves as our compass on the path to deep health.

Standing burns about 1.36 Kcals per minute more than sitting. That’s more than sixty calories an hour. Multiplied by eight (the hours in a typical work day) and you’re talking about 500 calories or more a day. Big difference. If you’re looking to lose weight or simply stay lean, get out of your chair ASAP.

If you’re a desk-bound worker reading this, don’t get discouraged…

Get imaginative and creative…

  • Look for simple changes and small opportunities to sneak in “movement snacks.”
  • Run errands or use the bathroom on a different floor to add steps to your day.
  • Brainstorm or plan standing up using a whiteboard or flipchart.
  • Sit or stand based on the task’s demands to keep your body active.
  • Experiment with different strategies and find what works best for you.
  • Take regular movement breaks every hour to stand up, stretch, and walk around.
  • Encourage standing meetings and walking discussions with coworkers.
  • Use phone calls as a chance to stand up or go for a stroll.
  • Advocate for healthier workplace options and amenities to support movement.

Lets Stand up to this sitting world.

In health and inspiration, 

Rishi Dadhe

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