I got home last night and had a few surprisingly uncharacteristic minutes of nothing to do. My wife was picking up the kids from school and my parents, with whom we are temporarily residing as we purchase a new home, had dinner prepared. And so I stood uncomfortably in the living room before collapsing on the reclining chair and releasing an extended, “Ahhhhhhhhhhh.”
I immediately asked my border terrier, who does not sit for one moment of her waking hours, “What am I doing sitting, after I’ve been sitting all day?” I began to reflect on how I spent my time sitting throughout the day: 15 minutes here eating breakfast, 1 hour and 45 minutes there commuting to and from work, 7 hours of sitting at my office desk…
A recent study on the trends in sedentary behavior showed that the estimated sitting time increased from 2007 to 2016 among the U.S. population—from 7.0 to 8.2 hours per day among adolescents and from 5.5 to 6.4 hours per day among adults. As I write this blog post about sitting, while sitting, I remember hearing how sitting is the new smoking. Whether that is true or not is debatable, but what is not debatable is that not moving contributes to many chronic diseases and increases the risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, and overall mortality.
According to a recent report by the Trust for America’s Health, the obesity rate is continuing to climb. There is some positive news from the Tri-County Area Health Needs Assessment however, which showed that although there was a rise in the overweight and obesity rate in our region between 2008 and 2013, from 63% to 69%, that number remained stable from 2013 to 2018.
Although there are many factors that contribute to the extraordinary rates of obesity, and factors that contribute to those factors, I think we can all agree that we need to move more. According to the same needs assessment, only 25% of Tri-County Area adults are meeting national physical activity guidelines of 150 minutes of exercise per week.
My last New Year’s resolution was reducing my consumption of sugar, which I must say was pretty successful; perhaps I now have my resolution for 2020… less sitting.