We all need to keep moving

We all know exercise is good for us, but did you know that even if we exercise, too much sitting during the day is linked to a greater risk of disability?

A recently published study of more than 2,200 adults ages 60 years and older showed that every additional hour of sitting during the day was linked to a 46 percent greater risk of disability, regardless of how much moderate physical activity those in the study got.

Dorothy Dunlop, the lead author, stated, “This study is a smoking gun. Regardless of exercise, the more time people spent sitting and being sedentary, the more likely they were to be in the pool of disabled people. Sitting is emerging as a separate risk factor from insufficient physical activity.”

It is not known how much sitting is detrimental, but what is known is that the more you sit, the greater your risk for health problems. Standing is better than sitting, and activity is better than standing.

Here are Dunlop’s top 10 ways to get more active at work and home. These tips are helpful not only for our patients, but also for ourselves.

Move It or Lose It

  • Walk for short errands instead of taking the car.
  • Park at the far end of the parking lot when you drive to a store.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Get up at every commercial break when you’re watching TV. Clean up the kitchen or do some quick, easy task.
  • Get up more often to fill your water bottle by only filling it with half the water you would usually drink.
  • Stand at your kitchen counter and read rather than sit on the couch.
  • Stand up when you talk on the phone.
  • Hold standing or walking meetings.
  • Get a standing desk – a raised platform that you stand at to work. This can be as simple as putting your computer on top of a box so you can work from a standing position.
  • Get an app or timer on your computer or phone to alert you to stand at least once every hour. Use that time to stretch, walk in place or walk around the office.

Dunlop, et al, “Sedentary Time in U.S. Older Adults Associated with Disability in Activities of Daily Living Independent of Physical Activity,” J of Physical Activity & Health, Feb 2014.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1123/jpah.2013-0311

Michael Vovakes, MD (who just installed a timer on his computer)

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