Does sitting all day make you sick?

As summer winds to a close and  another school year kicks off, students will probably find themselves sitting in lecture halls, at study sessions and on long Netflix binges when they’re supposed to be doing something else. Sitting takes up a large portion of the average person’s day.

According to an American Heart Association statement, we sit for an average of six to eight hours every day, excluding sleep. Doctors have long said that a sedentary lifestyle, meaning a person who spends most of their day sitting, can increase risk factors for heart disease and diabetes. Sedentary activities include: “sitting, reclining, or lying down while awake as well as reading, watching television, or working on the computer.”

But getting some exercise in on the weekend changes that, right? According to a new scientific statement published in the American Heart Association Journal Circulation, this may not be the case.

“Regardless of how much physical activity someone gets, prolonged sedentary time could negatively impact the health of your heart and blood vessels,” said Deborah Rohm Young, Ph.D., director of behavioral research at Kaiser Permanente Southern California in Pasadena.  Hitting the gym for a few hours on the weekend after sitting around all week, at work or school, may not be enough to keep you healthy. Instead, the American Heart Association recommends spreading your exercise out over the week, putting in at least 30 minutes of moderate activity every day.

With the daily reality for many people being a desk and a chair and very little movement for long stretches of time, the question is: how much sitting is too much, and what should we be doing instead? Young says that is still unclear.

“We don’t have information about how much sedentary behavior is bad for health—the best advice at this time is to ‘sit less and move more.’”

The Brock community presents a number of options for getting active to students, staff and members of the community, including the Zone fitness centre, fitness classes, and walking paths all over campus.


Joanna Ward, Specialty News Editor 

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