AUSTRALIANS SIT ALMOST 10 HOURS EACH DAY
You don’t want to be sitting down when you read this. A study from the British Journal of Sports Medicine reports that, on average, every hour sitting watching TV after the age of 25 reduces the viewer’s life expectancy by 21.8 minutes. It’s time to sit up … er … to stand up and take notice.
Since the 1950s life has become more and more about bums on seats. Simple things changed. The washing came indoors, as dryers replaced trips to the clothes line. TV taught us to sit down, shut up and watch, while urban-sprawl traffic made us sit longer and longer in our cars commuting to and from jobs that were more often behind desks. The latest Australian Health Survey found 80 per cent of Australians have to do some sitting at work.
Even socialising has become computerised. A 2017 survey found that Aussies are spending 19 hours a week on Facebook — and time using social media generally means time sitting down.
So, what can we change to get moving?
Less than half of Australian adults are sufficiently active, according to the Australian Healthy Survey.
Moving more can really help you lower your risk of diabetes. Studies have shown that by getting up every 20 minutes and strolling for two minutes, you can reduce your blood sugar levels by 30 per cent. So, next time you’re on your mobile at home or work, stand up or pace around a bit — your body will love it.
There are plenty of other ways you can add extra movement to your day. For example, try climbing the stairs on arrival at work, after lunch, and to meet and talk to colleagues instead of emailing them.
Or take a tea-break. We already know tea has many health benefits, but by just taking a break from sitting, and going to the kitchen to pour a cuppa — along with the subsequent journeys to the loo — you’re making your top brew an even bigger health booster.
Sitting at your desk or stuck in traffic? Squeeze your bottom cheeks together so that you rise in your seat, then let go and repeat. They’re big muscles, so keeping them active is key to burning kilojoules and managing blood sugar levels. You can also do neck stretches and shoulder rolls to help improve posture.
TV’s a problem? Instead of sitting through the ad breaks when you’re watching the box, use them to get moving. Do a few stretches, water the plants, put on a load of washing, or take out the rubbish.
And next time you’re taking public transport, pretend there are no seats on the bus or train and stand up for part of the trip. Or hop off a stop early and walk the remaining distance.
At home, forget about the dishwasher and wash and dry by hand — you’re standing up, after all!
Or grow your own herbs and vegies. You’ll be on your feet digging, planting, watering and picking. ■