We’ve all heard that sitting is the new smoking. Research shows that a sedentary lifestyle (defined as little to no movement) can be detrimental to your health. All that sitting, slouching, hunching over can not only cause posture problems like tech-neck and low back pain, but it can also cause gastrointestinal issues, heart disease, cancer, and it can even take years off your life!
Meanwhile, research has also shown that more and more people – particularly young adults between the ages of 18 and 35 – adopted a sedentary lifestyle as they isolated at home during the pandemic. Add to that the ubiquitous pandemic weight gain and an alarming increase in mental health issues like anxiety and depression, and you have got a recipe for even greater health challenges down the road. But, there is hope!
If you’re living a sedentary lifestyle and have ever wondered just how much exercise you need to combat a day’s worth sitting on your tush, recent research published in the British Journal of Medicine may have just answered that question. According to a meta-analysis of nine previously conducted studies involving over 44,000 total participants wearing fitness trackers over multiple years, the necessary exercise time for combatting 10 hours of sitting is roughly three hours of continuous running ... on a treadmill ... at an incline of 12!
Relax, we’re kidding! You might be surprised to learn that the real sweet spot researchers recommend for counteracting the negative impact of sitting for 10 hours straight is 30-40 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise. Think brisk walking/jogging, rowing, cycling, circuit training, etc., although researchers say any amount of movement is better than nothing. Conversely, the World Health Organization’s recently published guidelines recommend 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75-150 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity every week to counter sedentary behavior.
If you think about it, a 30-minute workout is only 2% of your day. So, this is not a massive time investment (looking at you, all those nay-sayers throwing out excuses of time constraints on your day). You could briskly walk around your neighborhood for 20 minutes in the morning and 20 in the evening. Or, challenge yourself with a 15-minute HIIT routine in your living room twice a day. Or, you could try this workout that only requires your body weight and nothing else!
While you may have intuitively known all along that working at a desk all day only to binge-watch your favorite Netflix or Hulu shows at night is not good for you, now you REALLY know. So, what are you going to do today to combat it?
Take a cue from this research and realize you don’t have to run a marathon ... on a treadmill ... to erase a day’s worth of sitting. You just need to move as little as 30 minutes each day, especially if you’re sitting for 10 hours at a time. If you want to take it further, get yourself a fitness tracker and challenge yourself to hit 10,000 steps every day. You got this!