UPDATED: Mar 26, 2020
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You might want to sit down before you read this.
Actually, standing up is a better choice. Come to think of it; it’s best if you move around as you read. Just grab your laptop or mobile device and go. Can you do that?
Why. Because sitting too long can kill you. This is according to a new study published this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine (note: that’s two n’s). And anytime we read the words “can kill you,” we pay close attention. After all, we are in the life insurance business.
Sitting has been called the new smoking. Don’t believe me? Just listen to Dr. Sanjay Gupta tell it.
And to make matters even grimmer, the study authors have concluded that exercising every day, no matter how much or what type, will not reverse the damage inflicted by excessive sitting.
So, how did we get here? Researchers studied nearly 8,000 adults and found a direct relationship between time spent sitting and risk of early mortality. The two magic numbers appear to be ’30’ and 90.’
People who most often sat for less than 30 minutes at a time had a 55% lower risk of death compared to those who sat longer than 30 minutes. And people who frequently sat for more than 90 minutes at a time had twice the risk of death compared to those who sat less than 90 minutes.
True couch/chair potatoes beware: sitting more than 13 hours a day in total will earn you a 200% greater risk of death compared to people who sit less than 11 hours per day.
How do I stay alive, then?
Researchers recommend breaking up your sitting time. Ideally, you should strive for a five-minute movement break for every thirty minutes you spend on your backside. Here are some ideas:
- Take a quick bathroom break.
- Walk around the office and say ‘hello’ to someone new each time.
- If you can’t leave your desk, stand up and do some light stretching.
- Try using a stand-up desk.
It’s important to note that researchers do not advocate standing over sitting as of yet. There’s just not enough evidence to show standing is much better. But it seems logical that standing is somewhat better for you, even if only a little. And, if standing is your only option, try to move around as much as you can. Stretch, do yoga poses, throw in some jumping jacks. That should entertain your coworkers if nothing else.
Will sitting hurt my chances of getting term life insurance?
No, not directly anyway. We don’t anticipate life insurance companies asking how long you sit each day anytime soon. However, the potential negative effects of excessive sitting, such as decreased cardiovascular fitness and increased weight gain, could certainly impact your application and the rate you’ll pay for your policy. That seems reason enough to get up, get moving and save yourself some time and money!
Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash