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The Problem with Sedentary Behavior

The Problem with Sedentary Behavior 

A recent article[1] published in the Annals of Internal Medicine creates an interesting perspective on sedentary behavior. The authors conducted an extensive search of previous research investigating the relationships between sedentary time and health. What they found should be of concern for those who spend a lot of time sitting, watching TV, or otherwise being physically inactive. They indeed found that a higher amount of sedentary time is linked to all causes of death, as well as many health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes. What was even more interesting is that they found this association independent of physical activity levels. In other words, you cannot necessarily offset sedentary time with exercise or physical activity.

So what can be learned from this? First, it is important to control the amount of time you spend sitting or otherwise being inactive during the day. Breaking up periods of inactivity with standing and moving around is one way to counteract sedentary time. This study can also help you gain perspective on just how you spend your time during the day. How much time do you spend at your desk, at your computer, or reading the paper? Perhaps it is time to start a new activity or hobby that will encourage movement. 

 And, a renewed focus on your movement health can have a positive impact on overall health and wellbeing. If you have been experiencing knee pain, for example and this is leading to more sedentary behavior, maybe it is time to see your physical therapist! Physical therapists after all are experts in movement health.

Marcia Miller Spoto, PT, DC, OSC

[1] Biswas A et al. Sedentary time and its association with risk for cardiovascular disease incidence, mortality, and hospitalization in adults. A systematic review and meta-analysis. Annuls of Internal Medicine. 2015; 162: 123-132. 

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