Friday, November 4, 2011

Myth: Sitting too long isn't unhealthy as long as I don't overeat.

Answer: BUSTED!

New data from the American Institute for Cancer Research suggests that sitting too long may increase your chances of developing some cancers like breast and colon cancer. We already know that physical activity decreases the risk of diabetes and heart disease. And people who exercise have lower blood pressure than those who don't. This and other data suggests that following current physical activity guidelines of about 30 minutes of activity most days of the week (for adults) and 60 minutes (for youth) is not enough. We sit an average of about 9 hours a day at our desk or in front of the TV or computer — we need to get up and move more! Here are some ideas to get you up and moving around:
  1. Add a chime to your computer to remind you to get up and walk around. These chimes are used to incorporate mindfulness techniques in your everyday life but they can also be used to remind you to get up and take a walk.
  2. Thinking about sending an email to a colleague in your building? Forget about it! Get up and walk to your colleague’s office instead.
  3. While watching TV, think of commercials as activity breaks. Get on the phone and walk around while talking. Do some jumping jacks. Have some light scarves (or light paper napkins) handy and throw them up in the air and catch them – you can also play this game with others!

For additional ideas to get you moving, see Real guidelines for real people: Everyday activity solutions.
family taking walk together

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist, University of Missouri Extension,, 573-882-1933

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