Death By Sitting

Up until now I have been spending 8-12 hours most days sitting in front of my computer—a habit scientists cite as being as bad for your health as smoking! Outside of those hours I get exercise several times a week hiking, swimming and paddle boarding.

At first it was supposed that going to the gym or getting exercise three times a week would counteract the ill effects of sitting, but recent research has proved that theory wrong.

According to a Canadian study, people who sit more have a higher risk of death whether or not they exercise. Sitting promotes diabetes, obesity, kidney disease, cardiovascular diseases, blood clots and circulation problems.

Dr. Mercola, physician and surgeon says, “. . . sitting is harmful to your health, irrespective of other lifestyle habits, including an excellent exercise program.” He sits as little as possible, and has reduced his sitting hours from 12 a day to less than one hour a day! After reading all the formidable new research, I am striving for that goal, too.

The average American sits between 8 and 15 hours a day. Did you know that 63.1% of U.S. adults were overweight or obese according to a study done in 2009?

You’ve probably heard that standing desks are the way to go—but standing still all the time isn’t much better than sitting. If you do opt for a standing desk, move your body often—shift your weight, do frequent squats and stretches.

And here is a tip for healthier more productive meetings: have them standing! Research shows that standing meetings also run faster than sitting meetings.

The best solution for the sitting conundrum is a stand-sit desk that goes up and down. Dr. Mercola says people need to stand up and sit down at least 35 times a day—repeatedly over the course of the day—not 35 times in one set. He said that regularly standing up from sitting was found to be more effective than walking! He quotes Dr. Vernikos who wrote Sitting Kills, Moving Heals, “The key to lifelong health is more than just traditional gym exercise three to five times a week. The answer is to rediscover a lifestyle of constant, natural low-intensity non-exercise movement that uses the gravity vector throughout the day.”

Take standing or walking breaks every 10-15 minutes while you are sitting at a desk, on the computer, or in front of the TV for that matter. You can use an online timer that goes off every 15 minutes.

Another idea is to sit on a yoga ball and continually make micro-movements with your hips and core. Tim Ferris, author of 4-Hour Work Week has conference rooms in his company with exercise balls for chairs. You can also improve your posture with Foundation Work (Dr. Eric Goodman) or the Grokhale Method to
reduce pain when sitting.

A few progressive offices across the country endorse exercising during work and install treadmill desks. Besides the health benefits, exercise also promotes productivity.

Instead of sitting in an office for a meeting, take your colleague on a walk. I see people walking and conversing around the decks on the upper floors of tall buildings in downtown Honolulu!

A 2011 study showed that older adults who walked just 40 minutes three times a week reversed age-related brain cell loss by 1-2 years.

A study published earlier this year Give Your Ideas Some Legs, showed that creative output increases by about 60% when someone is walking.

Anyone for a walking executive coaching session?


Get Up! Why Your Chair is Killing You And What You Can Do About It, by James A. Levine

Death By Sitting: Avoid Sitting Disease Before It’s Too Late, by David Harper

Sitting Kills, Moving Heals, by Joan Vernikos