When I look back at my life while I was at university I feel like I am a completely different person. The main thing I can’t get over is how much I sat down! I mean at the time I was a waitress who worked 8 hour days 4 times a week, but I also spent the rest of my time sat down on my bum. If I wasn’t at work I was sat in my flat with the girls watching tele, sat in lectures at uni, laying in bed watching episode after episode of which-ever series, or sat in the library pulling all nighters. I attempted to workout every now and again but not regularly. Whereas now if I don’t workout for more than two days I get itchy feet, I get restless and I feel rubbish. So when I read the above fact –“ Every hour you sit, reduces your life expectancy by 22 minutes” in Women’s Health Magazine I was shocked! Because yes I workout but I also have a desk job which means I spend a lot of time sat down!
What is even more shocking is that this is double the effect of a cigarette has on your life-expectancy. Sitting down and being sedentary is now the biggest health risk to our generation. When we sit our muscle relax (obviously) but when they relax a whole load of biological processes switch off. When we sit we process sugar less effectively and we burn fewer calories than if we were standing up – 144 fewer calories for every 3 hours. If you sit for 6 hours a day you have a 37% higher risk of dying early compared to those who only sit for three.
Women Health say that Unfortunately you can’t out exercise a sedentary lifestyle. As even if you workout for 2 hours a day you still have 22 hours in the day which are spent lying or sat down. What we need to do is be more conscious of the time we sit for. Obviously many of you have desk jobs so you need to sit, but the advice is that every half an hour you should stand up and stretch your legs… switch those muscles back on! You could take a stroll to chat to someone across the office, go make a cup of tea, or even just have a phone conversation stood up instead of sat down.
The motto that health experts throw around is – SUMM – Stand Up, Move More!
It’s about thinking about if you need to be sitting right at this moment. Obviously big changes can be made at home, you can go for a walk after your dinner, you could ensure you make tea, wash the dishes, do the house-work… yes sitting and watching tele is relaxing, but it really is bad for your health! Try and minimise the time you are sat on your bum!
Have you ever thought about how much time you send sitting down? Did the fact above shock you as much as it did me?