Research reveals a nation obsessed with sitting

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The Health and Fitness Blog

The Health & Fitness Blog is a collection of diary entries, news, gossip and other Health and fitness related information.

Research reveals a nation obsessed with sitting
Easter is a time of lounging in front of the TV and devouring copious numbers of chocolate eggs. But it’s not just at this time of year we like to rest on our laurels, in fact it's every day! Consumer research commissioned by the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) reveals that 32% of us spend over 10 hours sitting down every day, adding up to an amazing 32 years and 4 months of our lives.

The BCA undertook this research into our seating obsession to coincide with the launch of Chiropractic Awareness Week, which begins Monday 17th April 2006. The week focuses on the theme of 'Keep Moving' encouraging us to be more active in our day-to-day lives.

Sitting Pretty
On average we spend 16 hours awake per day and 9.4million of us spend over 75% of our waking day taking the weight off our feet. And if you thought it was the older generation who were the least active you'd be wrong. The main culprits are the 18 to 29 year olds. 38% of respondents in this age range spend 10 hours or more seated, compared to just 25% of the over 50s!

All Work No Play
With 59% of the working population sitting down all day at work, the humble chair is our new best friend and we just don’t want to leave it alone.
Nearly 50% of those who work refuse to leave their desks; even for lunch! 30% opt for a quick bite at their desk, whilst 19% don't even take a break. Women are worse 'lunch-hour-avoiders' than men, with 23% regularly shunning a break compared with just 15% of men.

Staying In Is The New Going Out
But, when the working day is done, what do we get up to? Well, we're not painting the town red that's for sure. A staggering 34% of the population, on average, stay at home every single night! That equates to 19.9 million of us staying in every night of the week.

When indoors, a slouch on the couch has a huge amount of appeal, 62% spend the majority of these evenings on their 'behind' and a further 9% sit down for the entire evening, meaning that 41.7million of us sit down for most if not all of the evening when behind closed doors.

Walk or Ride
Also, there are not many of us who can claim to be fitness freaks. The BCA research reveals that 17% of us never exercise and a further 12% exercise less than once a month. This could be putting us at greater risk from health problems.

Walking to work is a great form of exercise but, not content with sitting down all day and all night, 83% of us opt for transportation to work which, of course, means we can sit down. We covet those all-important seats on public transport too. The early morning dash for that seat on the bus, train or tube is never in vain; 75% place a high importance on securing a seat.

What does this mean for us?
Tim Hutchful from the British Chiropractic Association sheds some light on these worrying statistics: “Our research really hammers home how sedentary our lifestyles have become. Lack of exercise is our worst enemy and we should not sit for prolonged periods of time. As a nation we clearly like to sit down and resting is good for our bodies but there is almost twice as much pressure on your back when you are sitting incorrectly than there is if you stand up.

“The 'Keep Moving' theme of Chiropractic Awareness Week is designed to get the nation out of their chairs. We are encouraging everyone to make some very simple lifestyle changes to increase their activity levels. Spending so long seated not only puts us at risk from back and joint pain, but furthermore, consistent inactivity may leave us open to other health problems. The BCA is pleased to have joined forces with Heart Research UK for Chiropractic Awareness Week to encourage people not to just sit there, but get up and do something!”

The message from the BCA is not to necessarily go out and embark on a high-powered fitness routine, but instead simply change a few habits to make a real difference. Follow this simple advice from the BCA and Heart Research UK:

· 10 minute rule – if a journey would take you less than 10 minutes to walk, then leave the car at home!
· Try to use the stairs instead of a lift or escalator
· Stop emailing or phoning work colleagues located in the same office. Get up and walk over to them
· If you get a bus to work, get off a few stops earlier and walk the remaining journey
· Get out at lunchtime and go for a brisk walk; you'll go back to your desk feeling refreshed· Make housework fun; put some music on and tackle chores with renewed vigour!
· Exercise needn't to be dull, join a fun class like salsa or belly dancing and go with a friend. It's much more fun with two
· Whatever you are doing, take regular breaks. Never sit in the same position for more than 40 minutes, less if possible. When you do take a break, walk around and stretch a little

BCA chiropractors across the UK are offering 'checks for charity' during Chiropractic Awareness Week. Everyone is invited to visit their local participating BCA chiropractor for a complimentary spinal check during Chiropractic Awareness Week, with all donations going to Heart Research UK.

For more information on Chiropractic Awareness Week, or to find details of your nearest BCA chiropractor, call the BCA on 0118 950 5950

Posted : 13/04/2006 07:57:27

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  The advice and information on this web site is of general nature. Before embarking on any fitness regime or diet you should speak to your doctor to ensure that there are no health risks involved.