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Sedentary Lifestyle: Health Risks and Solutions

Updated on October 22, 2018
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Fredda Branyon has dedicated her life to the advancement of complementary medicine.

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Think about this: In 24 hours, how much time do you spend on your feet versus sitting down? Did you know most office employees spend 10 hours of their day confined in a chair? And after writing proposals, answering calls, and responding to emails from nine to five, many more hours are spent sitting in front of the TV or computer from home.

What is even more surprising (and saddening), is that children are now part of this equation. According to research, kids around the world are less active than their parents were as young boys and girls.


What are the health risks for prolonged sitting?

There are several dangers to prolonged sitting. If you or your child have sedentary lifestyles, you are at higher risk for many life-threatening ailments, including obesity and premature death. Some diseases you may develop (and your child later in life) are cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and lupus arthritis.


How much time do kids spend sedentary?

There is no question that children were far more active back in the day. Their playtime consisted of climbing monkey bars, playing tag, and pushing each other on the swing. Today, most kids would rather play with touchscreens than traditional toys and games. In addition, the average child in the U.S. spends a minimum of 5 hours a day sitting in a classroom. As a result, a staggering 85 percent of their day is idle, considering they spend many more hours in front of a screen at home, and an additional eight to nine hours sleeping and taking naps.


What can be done?

Prolonged sitting reduces functionality and impacts a child’s (and adult’s) cognitive thinking. With that in mind, StandUpKids.org was brought to life. The organization provides essential information on the health risks of prolonged sitting. Therefore, in collaboration with many notable institutions, StandUpKids has successfully installed thousands of standing desks in schools and universities across the United States.

Stretching and the act of bending the legs to stand removes the body from idle mode and stimulates the brain. Standing desks in classrooms — which are linked to improved physical activity and learning capacity — help create a space for learning where students can also become active and healthier. Take note that children do have access to seats, should they want to use them.


The Bottom Line

Due to ongoing advancements in technology, physical exertion is less necessary than it was a decade ago. For many, it is much more convenient to drive than walk, or play basketball through a smartphone than actually pick up a ball. However, the human body was not built for such idleness. Standing is the simplest way to improve athleticism and cognition in children and adults alike, all while serving as prevention against poor health. So, join the movement today and stand for your health!

How much time do you or your child spend sitting down? Do you think standing desks in classrooms is a great idea? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!


© 2018 Fredda Branyon

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