Sitting all day can have a profoundly negative effect on your health.
It’s a good idea to consider how much time you spend sitting at your desk in front of your computer or lounging around at home watching TV – it could affect your health. The average American adult spends about 6½ hours a day sitting — an increase of about an hour a day since 2007. Teenagers 12 to 19 are even more sedentary, sitting for an average of eight hours a day.
“There is data that suggests that a sedentary lifestyle may be a stronger predictor of mortality than some established risk factors including smoking,” notes Dr. Farrukh Jafri, Co-medical Director of Urgent Care at White Plains Hospital Medical & Wellness in Armonk and Assistant Director of Education and Simulation in the Emergency Department at White Plains Hospital.
Sitting all day can threaten your heart, potentially leading to cardiovascular disease. In a 2017 study conducted by the Annals of Internal Medicine, participants who sat for more than 13 hours a day had a 200% greater risk of dying early than those who sat for less than 11 hours. Experts say people who sedentary also have a 147% risk of developing heart disease.
“With our busy schedules it can be hard to find the time to go to the gym regularly,” Dr. Jafri said. “While I encourage active lifestyles and finding ways to make time for regular exercise, there are also areas in our day to day schedule where we can find ways to become more active.”
- Break up long blocks of sitting to flex your muscles and building more activity into your day like going for a walk at lunch can strengthen your overall health.
- Set a timer as a reminder to get up and move around every so often.
- Park your car farther away.
- Take your phone calls standing up or use an adjustable standing desk for your computer.
- Use measurement tools such as pedometers, which are associated with decreases in blood pressure and body mass index, or even smart phone-based applications.
The bottom line is doing something is better than nothing. Walk, stretch – but get up and get moving!
Dr. Farrukh Jafri, is Co-medical Director of Urgent Care at White Plains Hospital Medical & Wellness in Armonk and Assistant Director of Education and Simulation in the Emergency Department at White Plains Hospital.