A TED talk I watched recently got me thinking, researching and changing my ways. The speaker asserted that sitting down for most of the day, which is probably what you are doing right now, may be almost as harmful to our health as smoking. A solution, the speaker suggested, are “Walk and Talk” meetings instead of conference room meetings. I loved this idea and decided to implement it both in my business life and social life.
I did a little further reading on this subject. I found a study by the American Cancer Society which reported that men and women who sit more than 7 hours a day are more likely to die prematurely than those who sit less than 4 hours a day. A study from the University of Leicester indicates that reducing sitting time by 90 minutes a day significantly diminishes your risk of suffering type 2 diabetes.
Sitting for most of the day may be almost as harmful to our health as smoking.
The American Cancer Society’s Cancer Prevention Study also concludes that sitting for 6 hours daily can raise your risk of dying from cancer – even if you exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight and don’t smoke. You might say that sitting is the smoking of our generation.
A team of Australian researchers found that sitting in front of the television may take years from your life–according to the study, every hour of watching TV reduces your life expectancy by 22 minutes.
Even active people like us are sitting, on average, through at least 50 percent of our waking hours. We sit when we work, drive, socialize, relax and watch TV, help our kids with homework and many other times during the day.
Walk and Talk
I decided to put this information to use. When the time came for the weekly work meeting when my partner and I catch up on recent events and brainstorm about strategy, we went for a walk rather than sitting in my office sipping coffee. Breathing fresh air brought fresh thinking to our discussion.
A friend I haven’t seen in a while called recently and asked if we could meet for coffee or lunch. I suggested we take a walk instead. We were happy to catch up while getting some exercise as well. When life is so hectic with work and family, I find it hard to make the time to socialize, and I usually prioritize exercise over going to lunch with a friend. With “Walk and Talk” I don’t have to choose.
Now I’m looking for more great ways to get exercise in my day without cutting into time for work, my family or friends. Here are a few ideas that I’ll be using to reduce my sitting time and making my life healthier, and maybe even longer:
- Conduct important work and family discussions while walking.
- Walk or bike on short errands instead of driving whenever possible.
- Park the car at the far end of the lot when I must drive to stores.
- Use hands-free device so I can stand up and walk when I’m on the phone.
- Take my kids outside everyday and encourage them to share what they’re thinking about.
Do you have ideas for sitting less and being more active in your daily life? Please send them to me and I’ll share them with the rest of the ActivewearUSA community in the coming weeks.