How many hours per day do you spend sitting?
According to a 2015-2016 study conducted by the Centers of Disease and Prevention (CDC), an average American spends more than 8 hours a day sitting, being 55% of waking time. This accounts for both at home and in the workplace. 54% are meeting the minimum physical activity guideline of moderate intensity for greater than 150 minutes per week, or vigorous intensity greater than 75 minutes per week, or a combination. The physical activity guidelines recommend Americans to incorporate aerobic physical activity and muscle-strengthening activity, but only 24% are meeting these guidelines.
Sitting and low physical activity has a 71% increase in mortality rate.
Physical inactivity has shown to increase the risk of developing chronic conditions and even lead to death. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality. Prolonged sitting has been linked to a 147% in risk of cardiovascular disease, 66% in some types of cancer, 112% in diabetes, and 12 times more likely at developing depression, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. To reduce the risk, one would think adding exercise weekly would be beneficial. However, this is not essentially true. A study showed that even adding 4-7 hours of moderate to vigorous activity weekly while sitting 5-6 hours a day only reduced the mortality rate to 50%.
What can you do to change?
“Move more, sit less” is the recommendation by the new 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Check out the new guidelines to improve health by visiting Health.gov. Focus on incorporating more physical activity throughout your day than only going to the gym 1 to 2 hours. Some ideas can be the following:
- Taking a short walk in the morning before starting your day
- Using reminders to get up and move when working at a desk
- Stretching or taking walks during work breaks
- Sitting in different positions or standing when working on the computer
- Spending leisure time being active rather than watching television or playing video games
- Playing with your children especially outdoors
- Squatting or doing lunges when brushing your teeth
- Making family and/or friend get-togethers active by taking a walk, going on a hike, or playing games/sports
Change takes time, but you can do it!
For more ideas on how to incorporate more physical activity in your daily life and improve your overall health, check out Katy Bowman, Rafe Kelley, and Darryl Edwards. These educators have been encouraging functional movement to have a happy, healthy, and fun life.
- 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/downloads/trends-in-the-prevalence-of-physical-activity-508.pdf
- Muller, Jon. 12 Sedentary Lifestyle Statistics in 2020 that will get you off your chair. Ergonomic Trends. http://ergonomictrends.com/sedentary-lifestyle-sitting-statistics/