Statistics That Will Scare You Sit-Less
After yesterday’s folding chair buying guide, we thought we’d change course and ask about the necessity–or sanity–for sitting at all. Study after study are showing that sitting–”The great leveler” as The Simpsons Mr Burns put it–is a killer. According to a recent study published in the journal BMJ Open, people who sit less than 3 hours a day will live an extra 2 years!
Here are a few other figures:
- From the Wall Street Journal, “A 2010 study by the American Cancer Society found that women who sat more than six hours a day were 37% more likely to die prematurely than women who sat for less than three hours, while the early-death rate for men was 18% higher.”
- From the the Atlantic: A sample size of 222,497 Australians by the Sax Institute found that people who sat more than 11 hours a day had a 40% higher risk of dying in the next three years than people who sat less than four hours a day. This was after adjusting for factors such as age, weight, physical activity and general health status, all of which affect the death risk. It also found a clear dose-response effect: the more people sat, the higher their risk of death.
These are just a few figures of the many, well-documented indictments against sitting. And no, vigorous exercise for a half or full hour a day is not sufficient to offset 23-23 1/2 hours of sedentary living.
So what can we do?
- The first and most obvious thing is stand more. Many of us have desk jobs, so this is easier said than done. Everything helps. Stand up regularly. Stretch. Go for walks in the middle of your day. Smoke a cigarette (joking, of course). Make up excuses to interrupt long stretches of sitting.
- Consider a standing desk. You can test one by propping something on your existing desk or buy a proper one. If you’re at your desk for 6-8 hours/day, a standing desk could be the single-most effective way of curbing your sit-time. Hey Donny Rumsfeld does it.
- Cut back on TV consumption. The average American watches 5 hours of TV…daily! (no figure for recreational computer time, but we’re sure it’s on the rise). Go for a walk, cook, exercise–anything that involves standing and/or movement.