Modern society is designed for sitting and as a result, people spend more time in a seated position than ever before. But, does excessive time sitting down have a negative effect on your health and if so, how can you go about breaking the rut of a sedentary lifestyle?
Let’s take a look…
People Sit More Than Ever Before
Understandably, sitting is a common body posture and you will often find that when people work, spend time with friends, study, or travel, they will often do so in a seated position.
However, although it’s so common, it doesn’t mean that sitting and other sedentary behaviours are good for you. Over half of the average person’s day is spent sitting down, doing activities like driving, working (at a desk) and watching television.
You might not realise, but the average office worker can spend up to a huge 15 hours per day sitting down. Compare this to agricultural workers, who only sit for approximately 3 hours a day.
Sitting limits the number of calories you burn
Your everyday non-exercise activities, such as standing, walking, and even fidgeting, still burn calories and the energy expenditure from these type of activities is known as non-exercise activity thermogenesis (or NEAT for short), the lack of which is an important risk factor for weight gain.
Sedentary behaviour including sitting and lying down, it involves very little energy expenditure and as such it limits the calories you burn through NEAT.
To put this into perspective, studies report that agricultural workers can burn up to 1,000 more calories per day than people working desk jobs – basically because they spend the majority of their time walking around, or at least standing.
Sitting increases your risk of weight gain
Probably common knowledge, but the less calories you burn, the more likely you are to gain weight, which is why sedentary behaviour is so often linked with obesity.
Research also shows that people with obesity will sit for an average of two hours longer each day than people with normal weight levels.
Sedentary behaviour is linked to disease
Sedentary behaviour is consistently linked to chronic diseases and conditions, including a 112% increase in your risk of type 2 diabetes and a 147% increase in the risk of heart disease!
To go a little further, studies have shown that walking fewer than 1,500 steps per day, or sitting for long periods without reducing calorie intake, can cause a major increase in insulin resistance, which is a key driver of type 2 diabetes.
Researchers believe that being sedentary may have a direct effect on insulin resistance. This effect can happen in as little as one day.
We need to kick the habit
People in Western societies spend too much time sitting and whilst there are definite benefits to relaxing, you should try to minimise the time you spend sitting during the workday.
Minimising sedentary time is just as important for health as a nutritious diet and regular exercise.
So, how can you break the rut of a sedentary lifestyle?
The Australian Physical Activity Guidelines recommends 150-300mins of physical activity per week and we know we need to break the rut of our sedentary lifestyle, so a great way to start is with what we call incidental physical activity.
Basically, exercise you don’t know that you are doing…
Here at Precision Physio we are all about promoting physical activity in a way that you can fit into your daily life, so we’ve put together some ideas of how to fit physical activity into your everyday life.
6 Top Ways To Sneak Exercise Into Your Day
1. Park your car further away
We have a tendency to drive our car everywhere – to the shops, to work or to the park to walk the dog. While driving the car seems to be inevitable at times, one way to get in some exercise is to park your car a bit further away from your destination and walking that extra distance. If you’re one to take public transport, get off at the stop before your destination and walk the extra distance.
2. Do a quick work out during your lunch period
Many of us have fairly sedentary work days, sitting at a desk or computer. One way to mix things up is to do a quick workout during your lunch period – whether that be a power walk to go and get your lunch (or while eating your lunch!), a core work out or a quick sweat at a nearby gym or swim at a nearby by pool, you’ll find it invigorating to spend some time out of your chair.
3. Turn a social event into an active outing
Join a dance class with your friends or loved ones, go rock climbing for an hour after work or go trampolining with the kids! This can be a really fun way to get some physical activity in as well as hanging out with your friends or loved ones.
4. Go to the local park
Turn a walk to the park into a way to catch up with a friend or family member or think things over if you need some time to yourself. If you have children, take your kids to the local playground and be involved with their favourite game on the play equipment. If you have a dog, take them for a walk to the local park (or dog beach if you are lucky enough to be close to one!).
5. Move during an ad break at tv time:
At night time, it’s so easy for us to just plop ourselves in front of the TV to watch our favourite show, a documentary or the news. Why not mix it up by doing a core exercise, some squats or burpees, some star jumps or a quick walk up and down the house in between the ads?
6. House work/gardening
Remember that mowing the lawn, spending time doing some gardening, or even cleaning the house is a form of physical activity as well. Use the opportunity of doing household chores as a form of movement/incidental exercise!
If you found this article about how to break the rut of a sedentary lifestyle interesting and feel that Precision Physio could in someway help and support you, please contact us directly or leave a comment below.
How Do I Book An Appointment with Precision Physio for Help?
We’re taking the health of our clients, members and staff very seriously and our preference would be for you to call to book an appointment so that we can make sure to explain our approach to keeping you safe. You can call any of these numbers to schedule a session:
- Customer Support Centre: 02 8607 4000
- Precision Physio Concord: 02 9736 3950
- Precision Physio St Marys: 02 9623 2220
Evolving with the current environment, we are also now offering online appointments, meaning that we can support anyone who is unable to leave their home. Sessions are done via our state of the art Telehealth system and as long as you have a laptop or tablet with an inbuilt camera, or a phone with camera, we can help! Online consultations would be especially effective if you’re feeling isolated and need support even though you may not be local. Rest assured that we have many clients working with us who are not based in Sydney and the results have been great.
To learn more about online consultations, please call us on any of the numbers listed above.