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“Sitting Disease…” Two Hours of Sitting Cancels 20 Minutes of Exercise?

Author: Rosemary Buckle, M.D.

We all know about the importance of being active. Regular cardiovascular activity is just as important as eating a healthy diet and getting adequate rest. But what if our routine sitting habits were cancelling out all that hard-earned time on the treadmill?

A new infographic from active.com takes a deeper look at how much time Americans spend sitting… and what effects all that time in the office chair, car, and recliner has on our overall health. We’re reposting the infographic in full below on the Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics blog. Here are the highlights…

A Typical Day In the Life

Within a 24-hour period, the average American spends…

    • 8 hours sleeping
    • 7.5 hours sitting at work
    • 1.5 hours sitting, watching TV
    • 1.5 hours sitting at the computer
    • 3 hours sitting to eat
    • 1.5 hours sitting in the car

That adds up to a total of 23 hours of inactivity per day!

According to researchers, two hours of sitting is as harmful as 20 minutes of exercise is beneficial.

The Dangers of Sitting

    • A study conducted by the University of Hong Kong found that 20% of deaths of people 35 or older could be attributed to lack of physical activity.
    • “For people who sit most of the day, their risk of heart attack is about the same as smoking,” says Martha Grogan, cardiologist.

Prolonged sitting comes with a number of risks, including:

    • Increased risk of cancer, cardiovascular decay and death
    • Muscular disorders
    • Chronic back pain and/or headaches
    • Weight gain, obesity or diabetes

Workers who have been sedentary for more than 10 years double their risk of colon cancer. Furthermore, an estimated 70% of full-time American workers hate sitting, but do it anyways. These workers say they hate sitting so much that they would rather:

    • Go without coffee for a week (30%)
    • Give up social media for a week (24%)
    • Go to the doctor or the dentist (19%)
    • Give up a vacation day (11%)
    • Work a 14-hour day (9%)

Not Only Is Standing GOOD for You, But It Also…

    • Increases productivity by 10%
    • Makes you more comfortable and energized (87%)
    • Feel more focused (71%)
    • Feel more productive (66%)
    • Feel happier (62%)
    • Feel less back pain and headaches (54%)

Getting a standing desk (or a treadmill desk!) is a great solution for decreasing time spent sitting. Check out seven tips for using a standing desk at work.

See a Houston Orthopedic Doctor

Is too much time spent sitting causing health problems for you? Schedule an appointment with a local orthopedic doctor at Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics. Call (713) 756-5546. You can also schedule your appointment online.

Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.