Get Up! Sitting Too Long is BAD for Your Health

Everyone sits. Whether in the car, at work, or on the couch, sitting is part of our everyday lives. Colorado is one of the healthiest states, but even the slightest idle lifestyle can have lasting negative effects on your body. We all sit from time to time, but when does too much warrant health concerns?

According to the MayoClinic, Americans live in a sitting culture. The MayoClinic describes this problem as “Sitting Disease.” By sitting most of the day you increase the risk of health problems. Researchers at Northwestern University and the Journal of Physical Activity & Health both found a strong connection between inactive lifestyles and an increased chance of future physical disability. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys advocates for Americans to cut their daily sitting time in half. By reducing sitting time to three hours a day or less, you can increase life expectancy by two years.

Ergotron is one company at the forefront of promoting, “healthier, more productive environments for digital life and work styles around the globe.” In efforts to reverse the sitting standard, Ergotron launched JustStand, aimed to educate about dangers of excessive sitting and provide simple solutions. Compared to sitting, standing:

  • Increases energy and burns calories
  • Strengthens blood flow and enhances focus
  • Improves posture and relieves stress

Although we live in a sitting culture, we can take measures to live healthier standing lifestyles. Here are some tips to combat Sitting Disease:

While Commuting

  • Choose an alternative mode of transportation, such as walking or riding a bike.
  • Park further away, allowing for a longer walk to the office.
  • If using public transportation, choose to stand instead of sit.

In the Office

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator. More time on your legs increases circulation and reduces idleness.
  • Sitting for long periods? Stand and stretch. Set a timer to remind yourself to stand up and relieve tension and stress.
  • Making a phone call? Stand and walk around. Movement increases focus and brain activity.
  • Sending an email in-house? Walk to your recipient’s office instead.

At Home

  • Make food at home. Move around the kitchen and get cooking!
  • While watching TV, get up and move around during commercials.
  • Clean up around the house. Afterwards, you’ll be glad you did!
  • When sitting, improve your posture by sitting up and straightening your back.

Similar to other addictive behaviors, sitting can be just as costly to the mind and body. As detrimental as this problem can be in our daily lives, there are easy ways to improve movement, circulation and focus. As we become accustomed to inactivity, we must continually be reminded of lasting negative effects. By making one easy change every day to move more, you can make positive and lasting health improvements. What simple changes are you incorporating to move more? Share your tricks in the comments below.

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New Study Supports Safety of HPV Vaccine

This week there is good news for all parents regarding the safety of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine, as reported from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). This vaccine is given to girls between ages nine and 13 to prevent cancers of the cervix (a part of the uterus) caused by the virus.

A huge study was published that was done in two Scandinavian countries, and which followed almost 4 million females who received the vaccine between 2006 and 2013. The researchers were trying to determine if there was any change in the rate of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and other demyelinating nerve diseases in girls who received the vaccine compared to those who did not. The study results showed there was no increase in MS or other demyelinating diseases. This further establishes the safety of this widely used vaccine.

The HPV vaccine was developed after the rate of HPV infections skyrocketed in our population, and it was discovered that HPV infection caused almost all cancers of the cervix in women. Therefore, prevention of the infection is effective in preventing cancers of the cervix, vulva and mouth in girls who had receive the vaccine prior to being exposed to the virus.

However, HPV vaccination is not just for girls and women. In October of 2011, guidelines were released recommending HPV vaccination for boys in the age range of nine to 21. This has been shown effective in preventing penile, anal and oral cancers which were also found to be caused by HPV infection.

What does this mean to us as parents? We have the power to help our children avoid cancer later in life by getting them vaccinated against HPV.

If your child has not been immunized against HPV, you should discuss HPV vaccination for your child with their pediatrician or family physician. With this new study, we can be confident the vaccine is safe for your family.

For more information on HPV and the vaccine, here are some additional sources:

CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/cervical/basic_info/risk_factors.htm

American College of Pediatricians: http://www2.aap.org/immunization/illnesses/hpv/hpv.html