Some time ago there was a story on CTV about people sitting too long at their desks. In fact, some co-workers and I were interviewed. I am guilty of sitting at my desk and hardly getting up. There were times when I would sit there not even taking a bathroom break. And I would have late lunches–a couple times as late as 4pm. One of my co-workers would scold me for sitting so long at my desk and would try unsuccessfully to encourage me to join her and others for lunch.
When the reporter came to our department, I agreed to be interviewed because I knew I was guilty of too much sitting. I told her that I would get so caught up in my work that I would remain glued to my chair. That day I promised myself that I would change my behavior and start taking breaks.
I must admit that I didn’t think that too much sitting was bad for people’s health. There was a recent study in the European Heart Journal which examined the links of the total amount of time spent sitting down and breaks in sedentary time, with various indicators of risk for heart disease, metabolic diseases such as diabetes, and inflammatory processes that can play a role in atherosclerosis (blocked arteries).
It found that prolonged periods of sedentary time, even in people who also spent some time in moderate-to-vigorous exercise, were associated with worse indicators of cardio-metabolic function and inflammation, such as larger waist circumferences, lower levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol, higher levels of C-reactive protein (an important marker of inflammation) and triglycerides (blood fats).
However, the study also found that, even in people who spent a long time sitting down, the more breaks they took during this time, the smaller their waists and the lower the levels of C-reactive protein (http://www.news-medical.net/news/20110112/Plenty-of-breaks-from-sitting-at-the-desk-are-good-for-hearts-and-waistlines-Study.aspx)
What can we do to help ourselves? Simple. Take plenty of breaks. This will be good for our hearts and waistlines. I was advised to stand, stretch and walk around. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Get on your feet. Take action now to reduce your risk of getting the “sitting disease”.