Simple strategies to dodge “sitting disease”

Last week, we talked about the vital importance of making time for regular exercise—especially in the fight against prostate cancer. This week, however, we’d like to take that age-old message one very crucial step further…


It’s true that a dedicated workout routine is one of the most powerful ways to protect your health. But the choices you make during the rest of the day still matter. And a lot more than you might expect, too.


In fact, if you’re mostly sedentary during your non-gym hours, it could be setting you up for disaster no matter how committed you are to your current exercise routine.


The modern rise of “sitting disease”


Simply put, the human body wasn’t meant to sit around all day. From an evolutionary perspective, we had to keep moving if we expected to survive.


But while we’re no longer running from saber-toothed tigers, a new crop of threats have emerged… and a sedentary lifestyle still spells big trouble for your health.


In fact, published studies show that people who report the highest amounts of sitting in their leisure time also run a significantly higher risk of death from a staggering list of causes—including cancer, coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease, suicide, lung disease, liver disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and more.


To make matters worse, this trend has been identified even in people who meet the recommended amounts of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity every week. So it’s no wonder that some researchers have coined the term “sitting disease” to describe it.  


Outsmarting a sedentary society


We get it—from desk jobs to Netflix binges, modern day life has made continuous movement almost impossible. But if you can limit your sitting hours to fewer than three per day, the benefits to your health could be life-saving.  


Here’s what you can do:


  • At work and at home, get up and walk around for five to ten minutes out of every hour. You can set an alarm on your phone or fitness tracker to remind you when it’s time to move.
  • Walk places rather than drive when you can. Park a little further away from the entrance. Skip the elevator and take the stairs.
  • Get an elevated desk with a stool where you can alternate standing and sitting at work.
  • If your budget and work environment allow, consider a treadmill desk, which lets you read, write, and work on a computer while walking at a slow, but steady pace.


The bottom line? When it comes to physical activity, every bit really does count. Even these little changes have the potential to transform your health. So, whatever you do, just keep moving.


Until next time,


The XY Wellness Team



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