In America, we sit. A lot. In fact, an independent study was conducted of 1,000 Americans to see just how much we sit, and the results are eye-opening.
When factoring in sleep hours, Americans are sedentary (being seated and/or inactive) an average of 21 hours a day. This includes seven-and-a-half hours spent at work, eight sleeping, and almost five hours spent watching TV, on the home computer, and eating. This leaves just three hours each day for standing. Why are we sitting so much? 67% of Americans hate sitting, but 86% sit all day at work. We hate sitting so much that 30% of us would rather go a week without coffee than sit, and 19% of us would rather go to the doctor or dentist than sit. The reason is this: sitting so long makes us uncomfortable, and 85% of Americans take breaks to ease the aches and pains caused by sitting too long. These breaks, which range from one minute to two hours, result in a loss in productivity.
Sitting so much is actually wreaking havoc on our health in the form of “Sitting Disease.” Every two hours we spend sitting reduces blood flow, raises blood sugar, and drops good cholesterol levels by 20%. Key fat burners also shut off the moment we start sitting. In fact, excessive sitting is cited as a key risk factor in four of the top seven killers in the U.S.: heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some cancers. This is scary stuff.
And here’s where I think I’m screwed: daily exercise is not enough to counteract excessive sitting and fight off Sitting Disease.
How can we reduce our risk of contracting health problems related to sitting? Research shows that, if we sat just three hours less each day, it would add two years to our average life expectancy. To accomplish this, find ways to work without sitting. The American Medical Association recommends standing desks and exercise balls as great alternatives to traditional desk setups, letting you work while you avoid sitting. If you’re really agile, you could even try working while on a treadmill! I don’t know about you, but I’m about to buy myself a standing desk.
96% of Americans would be willing to stand more to improve their health or life expectancy. Would you?