Want to live longer? Better Stand Up.


Fitness and Wellness teacher Helen Wade never sits for more than twenty minutes. While most people would not guess that sitting down could decrease your lifespan, Wade knows it does, so she stays on her feet.

Dr. Emma Wilmot, a researcher for the Diabetes Group at the University of Leicester in England, discovered that adults who sit down for at most three hours a day usually live two years longer.

She also found that if a person exercises every day, but sits down for five hours straight, that person loses the benefits of exercise and has the same health risks as someone who does no exercise and sits down for the same amount of time.

In the continuous hunt for more information on how to stay health and fit, Wade recently read the book, The First Twenty Minutes, by Gretchen Reynolds, which discusses in great detail the dangers of sitting.

Reynolds explains that sitting down all day — which many workers and students do — is extremely unhealthy. Sitting not only puts people at risk for being overweight or obese, it also makes it more difficult for cells to repair and increases the chance of blood clots.

However,  standing up at least every twenty minutes (hence, the title of the book) can improve one’s health in major ways.

Due to the obesity epidemic, for the first time ever, future generations will have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. But if future generations begin to move around a bit more — even just standing, then life expectancy could increase.

Technology is a major culprit in our couch potato ways. Thanks to computers and televisions, we have fewer and fewer reasons to stand up for work or play.

Most of the time, teenagers are sitting down, whether they are in class, doing homework, watching TV, or even checking social networking.

Hopefully, though, as the results of these studies become more known, people will learn the importance of standing on their own two feet. Students can improve their health by taking stretching breaks while studying or even using a standing desk to study. Teachers can also encourage healthier habits by incorporating lessons that enable students to rise from their desks more often.