Sit less for health
Although being active is good for us, there is increasing evidence that sitting down for prolonged periods of time can have negative effects on our health, independent of how much exercise we do.
Many adults in the UK are inactive for 7 hours or more each day, and this tends to increase as we get older to 10 hours or more. This might include watching TV, sitting at a desk, playing computer games or commuting.
It is thought that excessive sitting slows the metabolism, which affects our ability to regulate blood sugar and blood pressure, and metabolise fat, and may cause weaker muscles and bones. This in turn has been linked to the development of diabetes, some forms of cancer and early death.
Take a break from your desk
It can be difficult during a busy working day to consider taking long breaks from your desk or computer. However advice suggests that to reduce our risk of ill health from inactivity, you only need to move around for 1 – 2 minutes every half-an-hour. If you can, take a walk to speak to a colleague rather than use the phone, get up to go for a drink, or try standing rather than sitting, if you need to take a telephone call.
Take a break from the TV
In your attempt to sit less, also consider how much time you may spend sitting watching TV or on computer games. This can be a particular problem for children as new evidence suggests that sedentary behaviour in the early years is associated with being overweight, as well as slower mental development. If you have children, the advice is to reduce the time that toddlers spend in front of the TV or strapped into their buggies.
For more advice
For some useful hints and tips on ways to sit less, visit the NHS Livewell website.