Sitting Is Our Generation’s Smoking

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3 April 2014

By Bronwen

We wake up. We sit and eat breakfast. We sit on the bus to school. We sit in registration. We sit in first lesson. We sit in second lesson. We sit and each lunch. We sit down until 3.15pm. We sit on the bus on the way home. We sit and do homework. We sit and scroll through Facebook. We go to bed.

In that brief summary of our average day, the main verb used was “sit”. The average human spends 8 hours a day sitting down, and it doesn’t matter if you do an hour’s exercise a day. Experts have compared it to smoking, as people who smoked assumed that they’d be fine if they just went for a run, when in reality, smoking was killing them. It is the same with sitting.

The problem? Well the human body is designed to move! Sitting down slows your metabolic rate right down, so you’re not digesting fat at a healthy rate. A study of nearly 4000 women discovered that for every two hours they sat, their risk of diabetes went up by 7%. This means that sitting for the average 8 hours can increase your risk by 56%.

A 12 year research product of more than 17,000 people showed that the more time people spent sitting, the earlier they died—regardless of age, weight, or activity levels.

A 30,000 people survey found that sitting for nine hours or more everyday were more likely to be depressed. This is because sitting for long periods of time reduces circulation, causing fewer happy hormones like serotonin to reach your brain.

There is good news- the solution is simple! Just take regular activity breaks. Stand up when you’re surfing the internet, or get up and walk around the class room at every opportunity. If you can’t stand up in a class, just change or posture or move your legs round. Just move! Never stay sitting down if you can help it, unless you welcome the idea of an early death.



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