The New York Times had a story today, “Sitting Is Bad for Children, Too” by Gretchen Reynolds.
The story reports on a new study of healthy young girls that found that after a single session of prolonged inactivity, the children developed changes in their blood flow and arteries that, in grown-ups, would signal the start of serious cardiovascular problems.
There is already a good deal of research that documents the dangers associated with prolonged sitting among adults. These dangers include increased risks for diabetes, obesity, heart disease, liver disease, metabolic syndrome and other conditions, including premature death. These risks remain elevated even if someone regularly exercises but then settles into his or her chair for the rest of the day (uh-oh, that sounds like me…)
But the good news is that it doesn’t take much to offset the potential negative consequences associated with prolonged sitting. A recent study found that participants who replaced as little as two minutes of sitting each hour with gentle walking lowered their risk of premature death by about 33 percent, compared with people who sat almost nonstop.
The study also compared the effect of just standing up as a way to break up prolonged periods of sitting, but unfortunately that seemed to have little effect on the health outcomes of the participants.
So that standing desk (shown above) that I’ve been thinking of getting because of all the warnings I’ve heard about sitting for too long may not really do much to counteract the problem.
I guess the easy solution is to just get up once every hour and walk for a couple of minutes.
But if you’re looking for a higher-tech, and more expensive solution, there’s always a treadmill desk.
Such devices seem to be growing in popularity, with celebrities such as Jimmy Kimmel and Al Roker being avid users.
While I have never seen, let alone tried, such a device, I think I would prefer to just get up every hour and walk for a few minutes.t
But I’m certainly open to trying one; maybe I can convince my boss to buy me one for my office…