Sooner or later everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences.
-Robert Louis Stevenson
A recent analysis presented at the American Institute for Cancer Research conference gave a “conservative estimate” of 49,000 breast cancer cases and 43,000 colon cancer cases caused yearly by the lack of physical activity prompted by sitting too damn much.
Just an hour of sitting is considered excessive, and so it’s recommended that you get up periodically. Trying to compensate by upping your aerobic activity at other times of the day doesn’t cut it.
Oh, and hey, physical activity is linked to reduced risk of lung, prostate and ovarian cancers. Fun! I’m assuming the inverse can also be drawn.
Most people, I think, will first cringe at how many hours they sit at a desk or computer. I know I did, and then I actually sat down (har) and mapped out a schedule for me to stick to.
- Instead of eating breakfast with the pup right after the kids get on the school bus, I get some work in first and then get up to make our meals (an obligatory walking of the dog following).
- Rather than piling all my workouts between school’s end and dinner, I’m doing yoga with Rodney Yee or getting my ass kicked by Jillian Michaels during lunchtime, and shooting hoops with the kids when they come home. Etc etc.
I started thinking about an experiment I did a few years back, where I sent the kids to school wearing pedometers. I don’t recall exactly what the numbers were, but I know they were pathetic.
My kids ride a school bus five days a week. A little under an hour each way.
They sit in class all day.
They sit at lunchtime. (Not for long, though. I can’t get over how short lunchtime is for kids.)
They sit while doing homework.
They sit for dinner. And usually we sit for at least one show before bed.
Here’s the thing: I think we’re actually pretty active people. We go places. We play sports. We work out. We walk the dog a billion times a day. We have a neverending list of outdoor chores that need doing. We nag the kids to go play outside and it’s as simple as throwing them out the door.
I’m not so sure all kids are so lucky.
But… we still sit a whole lot. And I can’t control how much sitting they do in school.
It bothers me. Does it bother you?
How much do you nag your kids to get outside? And how do you keep them active during the winter months?
In the name of research, I bought myself a monitor to track my own activity as a work-at-home mom, and another for my kids, which appears to track intervals and intensity (in other words, how many bouts of physical activity as opposed to just number of steps). I’m interested and a little reluctant to find out just how sedentary our lives really are… updates to come.