Prevent the ‘sitting disease’

The ‘sitting disease’, to use Nanci Hellmich’s terminology, is increasingly problematic as a large percentage of society spend all day sitting down.

Many people sit whilst commuting, then sit at their desk all day, have lunch sitting down and then sit on the sofa at home. Excess time sitting down is not a disease in itself, but it has been shown to cause an increase in diabetes, blood pressure problems, cancer, heart attacks and a lower life expectancy. An American study showed that if people were to spend less than three hours a day sitting, their life expectancy would increase by two years.

You may think that office jobs make sitting down all day inevitable, but we’ve compiled tips for you to build regular breaks and small exercises into your daily office routine:

  • Get some water or go over and speak to someone once an hour.

  • Stand on public transport rather than sit down, after all, you’re going to be sitting down all day.

  • Disembark public transport a few stops early and brisk walk, that way, you’ll still make it in time and burn calories while you’re at it.

  • Go for a walk on your lunch break. (Hot weather = nice walk, Cold weather = brisk walk, no excuses!)

  • Make phone calls standing up.

Making small changes to your daily routine ensures that you spend less time sitting down and therefore become healthier and live longer. Developing a degree of consciousness to your sitting habits will result in developing the resolve to move. Why not try the ideas above to begin with and then come up with your own?

Written by Ruth Tongue
(MSc Nutrition)