As students, how much of our day do we spend sitting? Think about it for a minute. Sitting in class, sitting in front of a computer, sitting to watch TV…that is a lot of time being stationary! Now, did you know that there are risks associated with all of this sitting behaviour? Many current research studies look at the impact of this lifestyle – formally named a “sedentary” lifestyle.
A sedentary lifestyle is regarded as having high levels of sedentary behaviour. Examples of sedentary behaviours and activities that contribute to a sedentary lifestyle are excessive amounts of sitting at school/work, using the computer and watching television. These behaviours and activities do not require a lot of energy. Interestingly, a person can still have a sedentary lifestyle despite that person’s level of moderate or vigorous physical activity. So even though you might exercise for 30 minutes a day, if you spend 4-5 hours of your day sitting, you can still have a sedentary lifestyle!
INCREASED RISK OF HEART DISEASE: People that sit six hours or more in a day are more likely to develop hypertension, and atherosclerosis (a disease of the arteries characterized by plaque deposits of fatty material on the inner walls).
INCREASED RISK OF DIABETES: Lack of activity can lead to less control of blood sugar levels.
INCREASED RISK OF CANCER: A sedentary lifestyle has been associated with many types of cancer.
As a student, it just means taking more effective breaks (especially while studying) in order to maintain your health and well-being. Try replacing old habits and your body will be thanking you for years to come!
Taking the elevator –> Take the stairs
Sitting and talking on the phone/in person with a friend –> Stand or better yet pace while on the phone/Go for a walk while talking on the phone or while meeting up with a friend
Playing a seated video game –> Playing a more active game, like on Wii or Xbox Kinect
Neglecting housework –> Clean your room, make the bed, do household chores everyday (any kind of work to get you moving will do!)
Ordering in takeout food by delivery –> Picking the food up yourself, if it is close by
Sitting in a chair –> Try standing whenever you can. If you have a stability ball, substitute it for your chair when watching television or surfing the internet