Are you ready for some good news? Sitting too much can age your body prematurely up to eight years, according to a new study by University of California-San Diego (UCSD). Now, wait. I haven't lost my mind. Here's why it is good news.
Think about it. So many of the things we should do to take care of ourselves can feel hard. They really do! Giving up sugar? That can be hard. Gluten? Holy, frosting-covered cinnamon roll. Getting all the chemicals out of your beauty products and finding all the products you're using that have "fragrance," the mysterious catch-all term for chemicals that manufacturers use? What a never-ending labyrinth. Balancing hormones in a world that seems particularly designed to mess with women's hormones in the 21st century? Not the easiest some days, even thinking about it makes me want chocolate.
But, if sitting is bad for your health (and ladies....it is really, really bad! Think diabetes, obesity, heart disease, cancer, premature death, and up to a 50 percent increased cause of death by any cause) that's good news because out of all the things we need to address, we've just been told something where all we have to do is...stand up and move. Not exercise or go to the gym...just move.
Scientists believe that movement helps keep your cells from aging faster. Sitting, on the other hand, dramatically increases how fast you age biologically.
Your chronological age is the actual time you've been alive, while your biological age is how "old" your body seems based on wear and tear.
In a recent study, women who were sedentary for at least 10 hours a day were biologically older than women who moved more - by eight years!
"Our study found cells age faster with a sedentary lifestyle. Chronological age does not always match biological age," said the study's lead scientist, Aladdin Shadyab, Ph.D., from the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at UCSD School of Medicine.
In the study, low physical activity seemed to create eight-year biological age gap between those who exercised and those who did not. Don't just jump to hard core, HIT-style exercising. Just moving your body (walking, standing, yoga, etc) helps keep you younger! Eight years seems worth standing up for to me...and totally doable!
Here are a few quick ways to sit less and move more in the middle of all the studying, working, and life that seems to demand sitting:
- Student? In school? Study with flash cards while walking around a track or your neighborhood instead of sitting at a desk.
- If you work a desk job. Set an alarm on your phone to get up and walk around every 30 minutes. It isn't lost time. You'll actually be more productive are your brain stays awake, your blood keeps pumping, and your body operates more efficiently. And it sounds too simple too help, but it is not! It helps!
- Get rid of your chair for a day or switch it out for a exercise ball. I dare you.
- When watching TV, get up and move every time a commercial comes on, or if you stay seated, do 20 ankles pumps or kick each leg out 10 times to get your muscles working and your blood moving.
Get creative. Every one of us has unique places we need to sit, but being intentional about creating reminders to get up and move has huge benefits. The quickest way to add eight years to your life? Stand up and move.
What ways do you keep yourself moving? Share below! Let's all keep each other moving!