By Michael Vovakes, MD
We know exercise is good, but did you know that even if you exercise, sitting too much can be bad for your health?
A recent study of over 2,200 adults ages 60 and older shows that every extra hour of sitting during the day increased one’s risk of becoming disabled. This was true even for those folks who did moderate physical activity during the day.
Dorothy Dunlop, the lead author, stated, “This study is a smoking gun. Regardless of exercise, the more time people spent sitting and being sedentary, the more likely they were to be in the pool of disabled people.”
No one knows for sure how much sitting is bad for you. But what is known is that the more you sit, the greater your risk for health problems. Standing is better than sitting, and being active is better than standing.
Here are Dunlop’s top ten ways to get more active at work and home:
* Walk for short errands instead of taking the car.
* Park at the far end of the parking lot when you drive to a store.
* Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
* Get up at every commercial break when you’re watching TV. Clean up the kitchen or do some quick, easy task.
* Get up more often to fill your water bottle by only filling it with half the water you would usually drink.
* Stand at your kitchen counter and read rather than sit on the couch.
* Stand up when you talk on the phone.
* Hold standing or walking meetings.
* Get a standing desk — a raised platform that you stand at to work. This can be as simple as putting your computer on top of a box so you can work from a standing position.
Get an app or timer on your computer or phone to alert you to stand at least once every hour. Use that time to stretch, walk in place, or walk around, wherever you are when the timer sounds.
— Dr. Vovakes is a regional medical director of Partnership HealthPlan of California. PHC is a non-profit community based health care organization that contracts with the State to administer Medi-Cal benefits through local care providers, to ensure Medi-Cal recipients have access to comprehensive, cost-effective health care. PHC provides quality health care to over 463,000 Medi-Cal members. Beginning in Solano County in 1994 PHC now provides services to 14 Northern California counties — Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Marin, Mendocino, Modoc, Napa, Shasta, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Trinity and Yolo.