Are you sitting yourself to death?

Are you sitting yourself to death?

Dr. Yoni Freedhoff is a family doctor and founder of Ottawa's Bariatric Medical Institute, a multi-disciplinary, 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 pushups in between appointments; and without showers, we're not likely to hit the pavement hard at lunchtime.

Get outside for 30 minutes and participate in Live Right Now's 30x30 Nature Challenge! Sign up for the challenge here and measure the impact of this challenge by taking this survey before you start. Visit every day to log your minutes and watch the minute counter bring our 30x30 tree to life!

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 suggests 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 risky 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 per cent more likely to have died during the study's 12-year period.

Now the good news.

Further research has suggested that regardless of total sitting time, having frequent, short breaks - even if the breaks are very low intensity ones (light walks, going to the bathroom, etc.) - may be highly protective against this 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.


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