Advertisement

Are You a Sitting Duck?

Are You a Sitting Duck?

Being sedentary is associated with obesity, heart disease, cancer and more.

Movie mavens brag about watching Fanny and Alexander—over five hours long—and West of the Tracks for nine plus. But they’re bested by intrepid fans who go to see La Flor, an 807-minute film with 40 minutes of credits.

But those glued-to-your-seat sessions pale in comparison to the sit-downs that US adolescents and adults log in day-after-day. According to a study published in JAMA, researchers found that daily sitting time has increased among kids 12-19 and adults 20- 64 from seven hours a day to just over eight for adolescents, and from 5.5 hours daily to almost 6.5 for adults.

The risks are well-documented: Being sedentary is associated with thinning of the medial temporal lobe, a part of the brain important for the formation of new memories—and even a lot of physical activity doesn’t reduce such a harmful effect. In addition, prolonged sitting puts you in the hot seat for obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, breast and colon cancer, osteoporosis and depression.

Your solution: Moving more takes a commitment—and an exercise partner. At work, set a stand-up reminder for every 30-60 minutes and enlist officemates to join in. Walk around the floor, have walking meetings, do 30 jumps, take a couple of flights of stairs. Add after dinner walks (at the mall or outdoors) to your family routine; sign kids up for sports activities—practice with them. Look for hidden opportunities to move such as parking away from your destination or saying no to elevators. Become a “Moving More” movement.

Medically reviewed in December 2019.

Best Exercise Motivation Technique? Fun Fitness!
Best Exercise Motivation Technique? Fun Fitness!
Do you have more trouble getting up early to walk than a teenager on a Saturday morning? If you'd rather snooze than hop on a treadmill or take a walk...
Read More
How can music help me cope with exercise?
National Academy of Sports MedicineNational Academy of Sports Medicine
Music not only helps people to cope and get through exercise, but it also helps people exhibit posit...
More Answers
I hate exercising, what should I do?
Penny Ragusano, NASM Elite TrainerPenny Ragusano, NASM Elite Trainer
When I hear this question, I like to ask, "What does exercise mean for you?" Our personal definition...
More Answers
Morris Chestnut Shares His 60-Second Workout
Morris Chestnut Shares His 60-Second Workout