Stand up for Your Health
Stand Up for Your Health—Literally!
When I was in high school, I had one particular friend who would constantly complain about not having enough time to "sit." Me: "We're going to McNulty's for some ice cream tonight. Do you want to join?" Her: "But then I won't have enough time to sit." The concept of sitting is not a difficult one to grasp, but at the age of sixteen, when I had no desire whatsoever to plant myself anywhere for a prolonged period of time, I couldn't understand what she meant. "So, you just want to go home and sit still?" I'd ask. "…while watching TV or something?" And, essentially, she'd reply, "Yes, I just want to be still." Since high school, this friend has gained a significant amount of weight, and I'm guessing the daily scheduled-in activity of "sitting still" has a lot to do with it, among other things. But weight-gain might not be the only thing she should be worried about. The effects of sitting, specifically while watching TV, according to a recent study, could be much worse.
According toThe New York Times, "there is growing interest among researchers in assessing the effects of being sedentary." One such interested party is the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia, whose study—calledTelevision Viewing Time and Mortality. The Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study, which focused on the direct relationship between leisure-time sedentary behavior (a.k.a. sitting on the couch and watching TV) and mortality—was recently published by the American Heart Association.
During their study, according to the , they followed 8,800 Australian adults equal to or over the age of 25 and concluded that the time designated to watching television was indeed associated with the increased risk of all-cause cardiovascular disease-related mortality. Solution? The team recommends that in addition to promoting exercise as a disease-preventing strategy—along with many other things, including eating healthily and getting regular doctor visits, we assume—health officials could focus on advocating a reduction in literal sitting time, particular prolonged television viewing, according to the study.
Though the conclusion is not, in my opinion, the most startling, it's nevertheless offered from an interesting standing point—and a simple one to swallow, at that. Forget the one-hour spinning class, and that half-marathon you've always wanted to train for—just get up! Doing so, they seem to think, is more helpful than you could ever imagine.
Video: Cracking Up
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