Standing up whilst on the phone is one way you can reduce the amount of time you spend sitting down
There’s plenty of evidence showing that activity keeps us healthy and sitting around like a couch potato doesn’t, but new research published in the British Medical Journal Open suggests that you can extend your life by two years if you reduce your sitting time to less than three hours each day.
Researchers from Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana analysed data from several different studies to assess how much time US adults spend watching TV and sitting in general. Then they looked at risk data, as well as taking into account age and sex, to assess how much TV viewing affected health and the amount of time watchers spent sitting down. They found that those who watched TV for less than two hours a day lived on average for 1.4 years longer; and those who sat for no more than three hours a day lived for two years longer. However, this is not to say that if you simply stand up instead of sitting down you’ll live two years longer than you would have done otherwise. It could be that individuals who spend less time sitting down are naturally more inclined to do other heart-healthy activities, such as exercising more often or eating a low-fat diet, for example. It does, however, indicate that sitting for long periods of time may be detrimental to a person’s overall health although how and why the researchers can’t say, as yet.
Stand up and be counted!
If sitting for less than three hours a day sounds like an impossible target, here are some tips worth trying:
- Drink more water. The need to go to the loo will get you off the sofa!
- Move the phone away from any chairs. That way you’ll always talk standing up.
- Download films or TV programmes you want to watch rather than switching on the telly when you don’t know what’s on. You’ll avoid a lot of uninteresting and non-essential TV viewing.
- Put your computer on a breakfast bar and work standing up.
- Invest in a stationary bicycle and place it in front of the TV.
- Use your computer on a treadmill: www.treadmilldesk.co.uk
- Be more sociable. We tend to move around more when visiting friends or having people over.