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Saturday, December 16, 2017

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Stand Up, Sit Less, Move More, More Often

Danelle Stevens
GRx Advisor
Sport Bay of Plenty

Are you a ‘chair worker’?   Do you spend most of your day sitting at a desk?

At the recent Annual Agencies for Nutrition Action conference, Neville Owen of the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute of Australia made an interesting presentation on the health benefits you can gain by breaking up sitting time on a regular basis. His recommendations include to make sure you stand up every 30 minutes. In general we should try to sit less, move more, more often.

Despite the fact that the world has changed markedly over the past decades, the knowledge that too much sitting is detrimental to our health is not new.   In fact, in the 1600’s Bernadino Rammazzini, the founder of Occupational Medicine, reported on the “Disease of Workers.”   High volumes of sedentary behaviours such as sitting or lying down have been linked to obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.   These behaviours include screen time, sitting in a vehicle, sitting during leisure time or during main activities, (eg, study or work) and occupations that involve prolonged periods of sitting.

But if I’m getting my exercise in during the week I will be fine right? The current physical activity guidelines recommend 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity for adults aged 18-64 years spread over the week.   Neville Owens findings to date show that even if you achieve these guidelines but still continue to sit most of the time your health gains are not as good as they could be. He explained, two people can have exactly the same total amount of sedentary time, yet if one had more frequent breaks they could benefit from a lower average waist circumference, improvement in BMI, trigycerides, HDL cholesterol, and insulin levels.  

In practical terms, it is important to create opportunities within our waking hours to limit sedentary behaviour. Avoid prolonged sitting periods – break up sitting time on a regular basis. A simple guideline to follow if you are a ‘chair worker’: try to engage in some light intensity walking for three minutes every 30 minutes and remember STAND UP, SIT LESS, MOVE MORE, MORE OFTEN.

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