Let’s talk about the problem of ‘sitting disease’

Tables and chairs in an office.
For the past three weeks we have been discussing the concept of moving for health, including  what this means, how much we should be moving and how to motivate yourself and your family to get moving.
We have also been providing a weekly training plan to get you to run your first 6km at the Woolworths/MySchool Move for Health fun run/walk in proud association with SANParks, happening on Sunday November 3.
Today however, we are discussing the opposite of moving – not moving – or as health researchers and scientist like to call it, sedentary behaviour.
Sedentary behaviour is any time a person is sitting or lying down while they are awake.
When last did you think about how much time you spend being sedentary? Do you sit on your way to work or school?
Do you sit at a desk all day? Do you head straight to the couch when you get home?
Are you sitting while you are reading this? Unfortunately, unless you have a job that keeps you on your feet, we tend to live a very sedentary lifestyle.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), a sedentary lifestyle increases all causes of mortality (death), doubles the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and obesity, and increases the risk of colon cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, lipid disorders, depression and anxiety.
Notably, these findings are independent of how much exercise you do.
Meaning that even if you do your hour gym session (which is great), if you spend all the hours of your day sitting, you could still be exposed to the risks mentioned above.
So, what do we do about this?
Well, we need to break up our sitting time during the day.
Below are some tips to break up all the time we spend sitting, whether it is at work, at school or even home.
See if you can implement some of these in your life.
For young children:
– Children should not be restrained (e.g. in a pram or strapped to your back) for extended periods of time.
– Children should be encouraged to do activities that get them moving rather than spending too much time watching TV or on their tablets/phones.


For children at school:
– Are you a school teacher; a parent of a school child, or a school child yourself? Why not get your class to start moving more with you by coming up with with fun ways to break up sitting time?
For example, have a jar of exercises that can be done in the classroom, then between classes, or every 40 or so minutes, the class must pick a few exercises and do them together.
The exercises do not need to make you sweat; they just need to get you off your seat and moving for as little at two to five minutes. Exercise could be running on the spot, stretching next to your desk, etc.
– Another creative way to get the class moving would be to create a dance routine or a couple of dance moves that the children can do next to their desks.
Then, every time the teacher plays a song, the children can do the moves until the song ends.
For adults and older students, at work, university or at home:
– Set an alarm on your phone or computer to remind you to get up and move every hour. 
 
– Keep a small water bottle or glass next to your desk so that you have to walk to refill it often.
– Use the bathroom furthest away rather than the closest ones.
– Stand up and walk around when talking on the phone or having coffee.
– Have walking meetings or go for a walk during your lunch break.
– Stand when you can such as when you are talking to colleagues, reading a paper or even lift your computer up so that you can stand while you work.
– When watching TV, stand up every time you change the channel, or get up and walk around during the advertisements or between episodes.
So, why not skip that next episode you were going to watch and follow along with training plan below as we build up towards the 6km fun run/walk.
The Sports Science Institute of South Africa, Woolworths/MySchool, SANParks, Danone, the Claremont Rotary, and the Cape Community Newspapers are backing you all the way.  
Week 3 Oct 7 – 13
Warm up, 10 minutes walk every session.
Running programme:
Monday: 5 min jog/2min walk. 3min jog/2min walk. Repeat three times.
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: 5min jog/2min walk. Repeat three times.
Thursday: Rest.
Friday: 6min jog/2min walk. Repeat three times.
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Brisk 20min walk.
Walking programme:
Monday: 30 min.
Tuesday: Rest
Wednesday: 25min.
Thursday: Rest.
Friday: 30min.
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: 25min (pick up pace for the last 10m)
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