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NOT BORN YESTERDAY: Stop sitting, start moving

By LINDA BROWN, Not Born Yesterday

Last week we learned that prolonged sitting is hazardous to our health for a variety of reasons and were disappointed to learn that a long walk or visit to the gym after a day of heavy sitting wasn’t enough. Luanne Freund, director at Vintage Park Assisted Living, 2250 S. Elm St., said bursts of exercise aren’t the answer.

“Two hours of exercise per day won’t compensate for 22 hours of sitting,” Freund said. “In fact, sitting for five or six hours a day, even if you spend an hour at the gym, is equivalent to smoking an entire pack of cigarettes.”

Moving more can be tough, especially since most folks’ jobs revolve around sitting, but breaking up time spent sitting, even for just a few minutes, can make a huge difference. Key enzymes move, blood flows and muscles flex, and those are all good things.

Freund made the following suggestions for sitting less during the day:

• Get up and move at least once every 30 minutes. Get a glass of water, pace up and down the hall or just stand up while on a phone call. Even fidgeting helps.

• Cook, fold laundry, empty the dishwasher or ride a stationary bike while you watch TV.

• If you have to spend all day every day at a computer, consider investing in a treadmill desk — expensive, yes, but then so is poor health.

• Make sure you exercise. Even though working out won’t rid you of all the negative effects of prolonged sitting, nearly every medical study suggests that active people live longer and are healthier than inactive folks.

Linda Brown is marketing director for The Ottawa Herald. Email her at lbrown@ottawaherald.com

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