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HEALTH & WELLNESS by jeff csatari


Is Your Chair Killing You? ‘Sitting disease’ is real. Here’s a NEAT way to save your rear.


YOU MIGHTWANT to stand up for this news: Sitting too much is almost as bad for your heart as smoking cigarettes. That’s the conclusion of many


researchers who linked our sedentary lifestyle and, in particular, long periods of sitting, with such health problems as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and heart disease. Just how much are we sitting?


Different studies have revealed that the average American now spends between 7.7 and 11 hours sitting on a daily basis. Where do you fit on the sitting spectrum? Estimate your personal on-your-rear time using the sitting calculator at juststand.org.


In one study published in Medicine


& Science in Sports & Exercise, research- ers compared the sedentary behavior of 17,000 Canadians with mortality statistics for 12 years and found that people who spent most of their time sitting had a 54 percent higher risk of mortality from all causes (except cancer) than people who hardly sat during the day. “Sitting for more than three


hours a day can shave a person’s life expectancy by two years,” says Peter T. Katzmarzyk, Ph.D., associate execu- tive director for preventive medicine and healthy aging at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in


Louisiana, and one of the principal investigators in the above-mentioned study. And who doesn’t sit for more than three hours a day? One of the more surprising findings


from that study showed that regular exercise might not be enough to reduce the dangers of sitting for long periods every day. Thirty minutes of running on a treadmill is a drop in the bucket in comparison to 11 hours in a chair. So what can you do if you’re


already exercising regularly but have a job that keeps you chairbound? The answer is in getting more “NEAT” everyday, or Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. NEAT is the energy you expend for everything you do that’s not sleeping, eating or doing formal exercise or sports. Turbocharging your NEAT will


help you burn extra calories through- out the day, protecting against obesity and other diseases. Here’s how to start. 1 SET AN ALARM. Program your smartphone to remind you to get out of your chair every half-hour or hour. 2WALK THE TALK. Whenever you place a call or answer your phone, automatically stand up and take a walk. Even if you have a desk phone, you can at least stand up. 3MEET OUTSIDE. Have a meeting scheduled for one or two people? If it’s a nice day, conduct your discussion during a walk outside. It’ll bring ener- gizing oxygen to the brain. 4MOVE THE PRINTER. If you have a wireless printer next to your computer, move it to another room to force


FIND MORE wellness advice at scoutingmagazine.org/health.


36 SCOUTING ¿ MAY•JUNE 2014


PJ LOUGHRAN


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