Once They Sat

Sit Less, Move More

In scientific advisories, obscurity and equivocation abound more than clarity. So the latest advisory from the American Heart Association (AHA) provides more elegant advice than most: “sit less and move more.”

True, the advisory goes on for 11 pages before it gets to that punch line. But at least it has a punch line.

Here’s the thing. All the money we’re spending on gyms, yoga studios, fitness gear, and fitness togs – more than $75 billion in the U.S. alone – makes us feel good about ourselves and helps our health. However, it does not undo the damage of planting our posteriors in a chair for eight hours a day. Debora Rohm Young, lead author of the new AHA statement, puts it succinctly:

Regardless of how much physical activity someone gets, prolonged sedentary time could negatively impact the health of your heart and blood vessels.

 Peter Katzmarzyk offers more perspective in a recent commentary:

Taken together, the evidence suggests that replacing sedentary behavior with light activity or MVPA will result in a lower risk of all-cause mortality. However, further research is required to better understand the interactions between sedentary behavior and physical activity per se and the identification of potential dose-response associations.

That translates into plain English as “sit less and move more.” More detailed recommendations will require more research. Nonetheless, if you’ve been sitting for 30 minutes or more, get up.

You’ll clear your head and you might even live longer. No promises, but it can’t hurt.

Click here for the AHA advisory, here for more perspective from The Atlantic, and here for the commentary by Katzmarzyk.

Once They Sat, photograph © aleazzo / flickr

Subscribe by email to follow the accumulating evidence and observations that shape our view of health, obesity, and policy.


August 18, 2016