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Researchers used to tell with regular excersise and a healthy diet, you’ll improve you cardiovascular health, lower your blood pressure, and will reduce your risk of diabetes. However, now increasingly more studies are showing that even participating in regular exercise may not be enough to counteract the deadly effects that sitting for long periods has on our bodies.
Whether it’s in the classroom, or at a summer internship the arrival of the “electronic age” has caused our children to spend more time sitting than ever before. In his recent book, Dr. James Levine of the Mayo Clinic details how excessive sitting has been related to 34 chronic diseases and conditions like obesity, cancer, depression, back pain and obesity. According to the Heart Foundation children today sit an average of 7.5 hours per day.
Watching TV and playing electronic games on a mobile device or desktop computer encourages long periods of sitting. Similarly, time in the car to and from school contribute to sitting time. Help your children sit less by limiting your children’s access to electronic activities. Two key steps are removing electronic devices from bedrooms, and tracking how much time they spend on devices. Remember, you are your child’s greatest role model and it’s important to limit the time that you spend using your devices. Try having a electronics free day as a family. If you live close enough to their school, walk or bike with them at least one day a week. Or park farther away from school than you normally would and walk them the rest of the way.
Your child probably seems relaxed while binge watching a netflix show after school or on the weekend, however that much sitting might actually be causing them to build up stress. Several studies have pointed to the correlation between people’s daily sitting time, and their risk of anxiety. Teens are particularly at risk because one in six teens have an anxiety disorder. Encourage them to break up the sitting they do through the day, and seek relief at home with this video to help reduce stress and anxiety and them fight the effects of sitting.
Just because your child is swimming in schoolwork, doesn’t mean they can’t take a break to move and fight the effects of sitting. Even if they spend 30 minutes exercising, that activity does not counteract the deadly effects of sitting all day. Encourage your child to set a timer to remind them stand up at least once an hour, if not every 20 minutes, and move. There are also plenty of great yoga workouts that they can do in their chair. Of course, one of the easiest ways to stay active is to get up and take a quick walk. If they are printing out a paper, encourage them to walk the long way around.