Technological innovations have created a world where humans can sit much more than we stand, walk or move, leading to a new health condition called Sitting Disease.Headlines reading “Do You Have Sitting Disease?“, “Sitting Disease is Killing Us,” and “Sitting Disease: The New Health Epidemic” abound on websites and publications dedicated to health. The term “sitting disease” is actually coined by the scientific and health communities as a way of summing up the leading cause of other major health concerns in the late-20th and 21st centuries.
Sedentary lifestyles are responsible for a range of other diseases, including heart disease and high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and even some hormonal imbalances.
Stand Up & Get Moving: Seniors Are Prone to Sitting Disease
According to Mayo Clinic, researchers analyzed data compiled by National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. This data was taken from more than 5000 individuals and the results revealed rather startling information:
- The large majority of American adults (up to 70%) sit for more than six hours per day.
- About 20% to 35% of people watch four or more hours per day.
- Sitting is actually shortening American life expectancy.
That last fact is rather startling, isn’t it?
The researchers found that cutting one’s “sitting time” down to less than three hours a day increases life expectancy by as much as two years.
Reducing TV time to less than two hours per day increases life expectancy by about 1.4 years.
What Can Seniors Do if They Lead a Sedentary Lifestyle?
So, how can you actively reduce the amount of time you sit down each day? There are several, simple things you can do to get up, get your body moving and make changes to a sedentary lifestyle.
- Get a standing work station. If you still work at a desk job or spend a lot of time in front of the computer, purchase a work station with a standing option. Standing while working enhances posture at the same time that it increases blood flow, tones muscles, increases metabolism and burns extra calories.
- Make time to exercise. Exercising for 30-minutes a day, even something as simple as taking a walk to the mailboxes, working in the garden or riding an exercise bike makes a big difference. If you can, increase that time by an extra five or 10 minutes. Experts say that even 30-minutes of exercise may not be enough anymore to counteract the effects of sitting eight or more hours each day.
- Get a stationary bike. Stationary exercise bikes are sold left and right at garage sales and on websites like craigslist.com. Take advantage of these great deals and get yourself a low-profile stationary bike for your living room. Try riding it while you watch one of your favorite programs. Or, hop on the bike during commercials and for every hour you watch television you can enjoy approximately 15-20 minutes of exercise without leaving the room!
- Talk and walk. Do you have a regimen of friends and family you talk to on the phone? Try standing up and moving around while you talk. Use a cordless phone and do laps around your house while you catch up, or do some gentle stretching exercises.
- Sign up for an exercise class. The more active you are, the more likely you are to remain active. Sign up for a senior exercise class to ensure you move your body at least a few times a week. Yoga, water exercise, senior aerobics or Tai Chi are all great options.
Life is too precious to shorten it a single minute. Get up and get moving!