Recently, one of the largest public health research bodies, the Sedentary Behaviour Research Network (SBRN) announced something quite earth-shattering. If you missed it, they released a statement saying that it is time for public health messages to focus entirely on sitting less (rather than exercising more). They believe that this is a more feasible route, as more people will acquire long-term health benefits, more often.
In other words, sitting and exercising need to be seen as equals in terms of their effects on our bodies, but completely distinct from each other in terms of how they work. That’s because, physiologically speaking, there’s little to compare the two. They both work on our bodys’ in completely different ways. As such, you can’t expect one to have any affect on the other. Hence the need for separate and dedicated education messages.
Yet until now, that hasn’t happened. Well, it has a little bit, but most people are still completely unaware that exercising can’t offset the effects of sitting down for hours at a computer or watching TV. The idea that hitting the gym “earns” the right to sofa-surf for hours, still persists.
SBRN’s news was therefore well received by the industry. But what about the public? Was their acknowledgement as telling? Well, not so much unfortunately. The lack of media exposure played its part, but it was still a regrettable response, considering the huge health benefits that can be gained from improving sitting habits, without much effort.
Unlike exercising, it can also be done by anyone, anytime, anywhere. And it’s straight-forward and cheap!
So, if you’d like to help bring sedentary behaviour more into the spot-light, there’s a simple thing you can do. The next time you see a message, screaming at us to ‘Exercise More’ , simply replace the word ‘Exercise’ with the word ‘Move’. It might not feel like much, but your body will love you for it.