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Are you sitting down?

How many hours do you sit for each day? We spend more time sitting than doing anything else and it is detrimental to our health. It has long being known and publicised that we all need to do more physical activity but have you ever considered that the time you spend being sedentary has a greater impact on you health status? One in three New Zealander adults is overweight and one in four is obese. In children, one in five is overweight, and one in twelve obese. What is worse is that these statistics are growing, exponentially.

How many hours a week do you spend watching TV or at the computer, driving, and sitting at work? Too many is the answer for most of us. If you are spending 4 or more hours each week watching TV you are putting yourself at increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, certain cancers, hypertension, high cholesterol.. the list goes on. What we really need to do is get up! Stand and walk for as much of the day as you can, park further away from work, or don’t take the car at all! Go for a walk in your lunch break or after dinner, it’ll all help decrease your sedentary time and increase your physical activity levels.  School and high school children should be encouraged to walk or bike to school, take part in extracurricular activities and sports at school and play outside during their spare time, not sit watching TV or playing the computer.

Physical activity recommendations include 30mins of moderate intensity activity performed on five days of the week. This includes a brisk walk, cycling, aerobics, swimming or other aqua activities. Or you can do 20 minutes of vigorous activity. The more the better! And if you are overweight, 60 minutes of moderate exercise on five days per week is recommended. This can be accumulated in 10 minutes bouts during the day. Include lots of breaks during your sedentary time, this has been proven to help reduce your waist circumference, body mass index and trigylceride levels in your blood. The more you get up and be active, the better it is for you health, mowing the lawns, doing the garden and taking out the trash are all going to be better than sitting down for that time.  Sit less and stand more!

Philippa King is a physiotherapist at the Oamaru Physiotherapy clinic.  She is undertaking postgraduate study in Sports & Exercise Medicine and Acupuncture.   Philippa is actively involved with North Otago Rugby, providing physiotherapy services for the Heartland team.

Source:  Oamaru Physiotherapy Clinic written by Mike Stewart and Michelle Sintmaartensdyk

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