October 2, 2013
I read an article by a doctor this past weekend in a local magazine that was rather disturbing…especially because it hits so close to home. In his article the doctor quoted a 14-year study by the American Cancer Society looking at levels of daily activity as a risk factor for cancer and cancer related deaths. What the study found was that men who spent 6 or more hours per day sitting or lying around (desk jobs anyone?) had a 20% higher death rate than men who sat less than 3 hours. For women the rate was a whopping 40% higher death rate. The deaths in the study, however, were from cardiovascular disease more than from cancer.
Yikes. As a writer, I spend several hours a day at my computer or sitting to read, and as a generally lazy person, I spend several more hours a day on my couch watching TV or napping or …whatever. I have a Weight Watchers activity monitor and during my activity assessment I was labeled an occasional athlete. (Translation- I go to the gym or jog five or six times a week for about 30 minutes of cardio but not much else.)
The challenge the Weight Watchers activity monitor and this article left me with–and the challenge I’m giving all of my friends and fellow writers— is to move more! Take breaks every hour to do a simple exercise. Walk the hall briskly for five minutes, do a few jumping jacks or push ups, stretch, hop, dance…whatever! But move! Break up long periods of sedentary work with a few minutes of activity and you can give your overall health a boost.
It is a simple thing. Make yourself break up those long periods of sitting. But if you are like me, you get engrossed in your work and may not stop until you need a bathroom break or your stomach tells you it is lunch time. Solution? Set a timer. Seriously. There are even apps to remind you and suggest activities. So what are you going to add to your sedentary routine to improve your health?
While you ruminate on that, please excuse me while I walk my hall (even if the cats think I crazy).