Recently, a number of studies have come out showing how sittin’ down too much can be really harmful. Weakened muscles and decreased overall physical fitness are just some of the downsides of a sedentary lifestyle. As it turns out, sitting down for long periods of time (more than 3 hours a day) can actually take around two years off of your lifespan – and that’s even if you exercise regularly!
More bad news: if ya watch TV for more than two hours a day, that’s another 1.4 years of life expectancy that you lose.
The study, published in the journal BMJ Open, was conducted by Peter T. Katzmarzyk – a professor of population science at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center – and I-Min Lee of Harvard Medical School.
Probably the most alarming part of this study is its conclusion that even if you get the recommended 30 minutes of exercise a day, you’re still not offsetting the detrimental effects of sitting too much. This is especially worrisome for people who work desk jobs where sitting for 8 hours a day is expected. For such workers, Dr. Katzmarzyk suggested tryin’ to stand as often as possible: “Typically when you’re on the telephone you can stand with speaker phone. Instead of emailing someone in the office, just get up and go talk to them.”
Engagin’ in regular activity, no matter how small, can help prevent your leg muscles from growin’ completely inactive. “What the results mean is that [if] we got everyone in the U.S. to sit less, our population life expectancy would be two years higher, so instead of living to 78.5, we would be expected to live to 80.5 years old,” Dr. Katzmarzyk told Time. “That’s a really big deal.”
So how can we combat the sad state of the sedentary lifestyle? It’s pretty simple: get movin’! Try to take breaks throughout your day to walk around a little bit. If you work in a metropolitan area, try walking to the corner lunch spot instead of driving if you have the time. Even if you’re just going to refill your water bottle every so often, every step you take is literally a step towards a healthier lifestyle!