Death by Sitting

Dr. Yoni Freedhoff is a family doctor and founder of Ottawa's Bariatric Medical Institute - a multi-disciplinary, ethical, evidence-based nutrition and weight management centre. 

Are you sitting yourself to death at work?
Let's get unhappily real. Even if we do our best to "live right now," the majority of us aren't about to break into push-ups in-between appointments, and without showers we're not likely to hit the pavement hard at lunchtime.

But that doesn't mean you can't dramatically improve your health while at work.

Here's the thing: there's a rapidly growing body of research that clearly implicates sitting as one of the riskiest behaviours you can undertake.

And the worse news is that even if you're great at exercising when you're not sitting, that likely won't help to protect you from sitting's deadly impact. 

And what do most of us do all day long at work?
One of the largest studies on the impact of sitting came from Peter Katzmarzyk's group at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in 2009.

They studied the impact of sitting and sedentary behaviour on 17,000 Canadians' risks of death.

Their findings were astounding.

Even after controlling for age, smoking and physical activity levels, the folks who sat the most were 50 percent more likely to have died during the study's 12-year period. 

Now the good news. 

Further research has suggested that regardless of total sit time, having frequent brief breaks, even if the breaks are very low intensity ones (light walks, going to the bathroom, etc.), they may be highly protective against this likely far too common problem.

So, what can and should you do about it?
Well, certainly after you read this, you should get up and wander down the hall--a practice you might want to employ as frequently as you can get away with. 

It doesn't always need to be hard-core to be helpful.

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Submission Policy

Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines.