You might not want to sit down for this: In a world first, Canada has just released evidence-based guidelines on sedentary behavior.
The guidelines are a big deal because it is a recognition of the ever-growing research suggesting that being sedentary has negative health effects independent of physical activity. That means sitting around for long bouts at a time may cause health problems, even for regular exercisers.
The Canadian guidelines were developed for 5 to 17 year olds and basically, they advise youths to spend less time being sedentary throughout the day. Children and teenagers can do this, by:
- spending no more than two hours per day watching TV, playing computer games or viewing other ‘screens’ — less screen time was linked to more health benefits; and
- not driving around in cars or sitting for too long, and not spending too much time indoors throughout the day
You can read more about the guidelines and get to them from a piece in PLoS Blogs.
We’ve written about sedentary behavior and cancer risk before – you can read something about it here. A lot of the research in the field is emerging but what is known is how sitting around for long periods of time increases the risk of gaining weight or being overweight. End excess body fat, in turn, is a cause of seven different cancers.
There’s a lot of intriguing questions scientists are exploring relating to sedentary behaviors – what is it really doing physiologically? But adding breaks to your day can’t hurt, and it may help with weight control.
For any office-workers, do you have any ideas how to break up your day? Please share.