Most people say “have a seat” when they have bad news to tell you. Today’s post has bad news that’ll make you not want to take a seat.

Although you’d never guess it from the type of stuff I write about here, my favorite thing to write about when I’m getting paid to write by a client is fitness.

So this means I do a lot of reading and writing about fitness. One of my favorite blogs is Obesity Panacea. The posts are written by two researchers who specialize in obesity.

Not long ago I came across a five part series on sedentary physiology on their blog (part 1 is here and the studies I reference in this post can be found in that series).

This series shows how even people who exercise regularly are still just as much at risk of being sedentary as someone who exercises. Of course I read this shortly after joining a gym and said to myself, “Oh great, now I have to worry about being a sedentary exerciser.” Oops.

Here are some of the rather alarming findings:

* A survey of 5700 Americans found that the average sedentary time per day is just over eight hours.

* It’s almost as bad for kids, with 6 hours of sedentary time per day, and 70% of their class time (including PE) spent in a sedentary state.

* A study in Canada revealed that individuals who sat the most were roughly 50% more likely to die during the follow up period than individuals who sat the least, even after controlling for age, smoking and physical activity levels.

* A study in Australia says each hour of daily television viewing is associated with an 11% increase in the risk of all-cause mortality, regardless of age, sex, waist circumference, and physical activity level. Yikes! So even if you’re thin and exercise, you’re toast if you watch TV.

Fortunately there’s hope. Another study in Australia shows that those that took frequent breaks from sitting were less obese and had better metabolic health. In other words, sitting at a desk for four hours but getting up every hour for a break is better than four continuous hours or sitting.

The take away from this is that we shouldn’t view exercise as that segment of time at the gym or the daily constitutional. It can be too easy to view exercise as something to check off the To Do list rather than merely a starting point.

Getting out of the chair regularly, using the stairs instead of elevators, walking if your destination is less than a mile, getting up frequently when watching a TV show, etc. should become normal.

If only I could do this while writing on the laptop:

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Filed under: Fitness

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