Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Get up and move! You’ll live longer and feel better

Are chairs the new cigarettes?  It looks like it.  A 2017 study links sedentary behavior to increased death from any cause, regardless of our exercise habits or time in the gym.  The longer we sit, the higher the risk – and it rises by over 50% if you sit more than 12 hours a day. [1]  Whoa! 

My recommendation:
If our job requires us to spend most of our working hours sitting in front of a screen, we simply need to remind ourselves to
  • Stand up and (if possible) walk around every hour or so
  • Make use of the stairs (if any) where we work
  • Think about having “walking meetings” rather than sitting around a table
At home, carve out 30 minutes of screen time each day to do something active (hmm. . . about the length of our favorite show?) perhaps several short bursts of low-tech high-intensity activities like skipping rope or climbing stairs, which may even be more effective.   In any case, get a little short of breath and sweaty every day.  For suggestions on how to make exercise work for you, and some impressive evidence for the health benefits of staying active at any age, see pages 50–55 in Good Food, Great Medicine, 3rd edition.

Miles Hassell MD