Are You a Sitting Duck?

Can sitting actually be bad for us?

By Julie La Barba, MD, FAAP
Medical Director, Culinary Health Education for Families
CHRISTUS Children’s

It should not sit well that most of our nation’s time is spent in chairs. Dr. James Levine, a Mayo Clinic researcher, calls ours a “chair-based lifestyle.”

Sound extreme? Then just think about how often our work, leisure time, transportation, entertainment and meal times revolve around a sedentary posture. High tech conveniences DO save us work, but sitting and pushing buttons also means we move our bodies considerably less often and with less force.

Everyone knows exercising can be good for us – but is the opposite true too? Can sitting actually be bad for us?

Although just being sedentary doesn’t make us overweight, it does contribute to an overall energy imbalance. If we spend hours each day in passive activities, there’s simply not enough time in the day to offset our food intake and lack of physical activity.

Family homes and workplaces are critical environments for fostering physical activity – or for fostering a sedentary lifestyle.

The solution? Sit less and move more every day! If we can build movement and activity into our “day jobs,” whether that means at work or school, or when maintaining a household, then we won’t bear the burden of scheduling extra physical activity on top of an already demanding day.