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Oh no:sitting too much makes you old

Oh no:sitting too much makes you old

Perhaps you are now in these difficult times more than usual. But then we have bad news:sitting makes you old. So what can you do about it?

For anyone who thinks that an hour of exercise three times a week is enough exercise for a long and healthy life:think again. If you spend most of the rest of the time sitting (at your desk, on the couch, in the car), your body is still aging rapidly. Sitting is disastrous, shows a growing pile of studies. Overweight, heart problems, vascular diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, osteoporosis and even cancer are associated with our sitting behaviour.

Read also: "Is it bad to sit with your legs crossed?"

Disadvantages of sitting

Andrea Maier, aging researcher and professor at the Free University in Amsterdam and the University of Melbourne, explains:“When you sit, you hardly burn any calories. You eat more, your heart rate is low, the blood flow is minimal, you hardly use your muscles and your cholesterol goes up. You will pay the bill in twenty years.”


What should you do then? Take small breaks. In an Australian study, 187 men and women aged 30 to 87 wore an accelerometer for a week to measure their 'sitting time' and the amount of interruptions (e.g. getting up, going to the bathroom). What turned out? The more frequent the short standing and walking breaks (less than 5 minutes), the better the health indicators such as BMI, waist circumference, glycerides glucose levels (Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study, 2008).

So get out of your desk as often as possible and go for a walk instead of going to the terrace. Many things that we do sitting can also be done standing or walking.

Tips against sitting sickness

  • Put a post-it on your PC with a reminder to walk around every half hour.
  • Get up when you get a phone call or app.
  • Use every commercial break on TV by doing something.
  • Meeting and consultation only standing or walking or on a desk bike (they exist!)
  • Purchase a standing/sitting desk or buy a platform with which you can easily raise your table.