Just how much more sitting are Americans doing?
If you’re sitting while reading this, you might want to stand up.
A new study shows that Americans spent about as much time sitting while watching TV – about 2 hours per day – as they have in previous years. The number of people who sat down using a computer for more than an hour per day rose across all ages, though. The study suggested that from 2007-2016, total sitting time rose from 7 hours per day to 8.2 hours for teens and from 5.5 hours per day to 6.4 for adults.
Experts say this way of life can make physical activity practically non-existent for some people. If continued for long periods of time, it can lead to a whole host of health problems.
“Risks of a sedentary lifestyle include obesity, hypertension and diabetes,” says Dr. Robert Johnson, a cardiologist at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill. “Incorporating some regular physical activity can greatly reduce these risks and even reduce the risks of cancer, depression, falls and perhaps dementia.”
While these health risks may seem like problems someone would face later in life, adults are not the only ones in danger. Sedentary habits often begin during childhood. Dr. Johnson warns parents to keep watch on children’s daily activities and get them moving regularly.
“Kids form habits that may persist for a lifetime, so it’s important to have a routine of physical activity at home,” says Dr. Johnson. “You can play a sport with them or even just take a walk after dinner. The most important thing is to make the habits they develop good habits.”
For those who sit in front of a computer all day at work, it can be hard to find time to get the physical activity you need each day. But if you’re looking for ways to help keep serious health risks away, try incorporating some of these tips from Dr. Johnson into your work day:
- Take a break to walk around your office or outside
- Climb a few flights of stairs possibly twice a day
- Avoid snacking at your desk to reduce unnecessary calorie intake
- Consider a standing desk as this can be helpful for fitness and calorie burn
Remember that you can start by incorporating one new habit, then add more over time. Some change is better than none. The goal is to start moving every day to create a healthier lifestyle for you and your family.
About the Author
Latoya Campbell, health enews contributor, is a Public Affairs Coordinator at Advocate Aurora Health. She has a BS degree in Communications/Broadcast Journalism from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and previously worked in digital and graphic marketing for a public library. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, fitness activities and a good spa day.