Move or Die

Scientific studies show that inactivity will kill you.

LAST JANUARY, researchers from the University Health Network in Toronto, Canada, published the results of its study on the effects of long-term inactivity. In a word, the scientists who conducted the study found that sitting around all day can kill you.

"Prolonged sedentary time was independently associated with deleterious health outcomes regardless of physical activity," reads the study's conclusion in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

The study looked at how sitting for prolonged periods affected the outcomes for developing cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and other causes of death. In analyzing 47 independent studies during their research, the UNH scientists concluded that persons frequently engaged in prolonged sitting were 24 percent more likely to die from health problems than active people.

"More than one half of an average person's day is spent being sedentary—sitting, watching television, or working at a computer," said Dr. David Alter, the lead scientist, in a UHN release about the study.

The solution, obviously, is to move. The study's authors recommended decreasing sedentary time by 2-3 hours per 12- hour period. The trick, then, is to find an activity that inspires you to become more active, to make a few extra hours of walking, hiking, or standing on your feet pass by without your even realizing it. Something that can make you get up out of your chair even when it might be easier or more comfortable to remain seated. An activity that becomes so engrossing that the healthiness of it becomes a secondary benefit, where the act of participating unwittingly helps you cheat death.

If only there was something out there that inspired people to do that...

photo by Jeff Cricco

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