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The term sedentary behavior refers to a group of behaviors that “occur when sitting or lying down while awake and that typically require low energy expenditure.” Many good examples of a sedentary lifestyle include sitting while at work, home or school; watching television; using a computer or playing video games (unless it is active gaming, such as Wii Fitness); reading; sitting while socializing with friends or family; and sitting in a car or bus. Most of these examples of sedentary lifestyles, I have been guilty of most of my life.

For instance, on a recent Sunday, I choose to travel with my family to the Dollywood amusement park located in the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee. I felt that the view of the mountains and the social experience would be great for my health. Upon arrival in the park, I choose to find a comfortable place to sit and watch everyone as they passed by. What was remarkably amazing to me from an observation prospective was that we live in a society of obesity.

A behavior of sitting is increasingly common in our society where many of us do desk jobs, travel in motor vehicles and spend leisure time in front of computers and televisions. Think about it. Many individuals throughout the world have jobs that lend themselves to sitting, especially in America.

Most of us know that sitting less and being more active is good for our health. But more exercise will not necessarily offset the health hazards from sitting long periods of time.  More evidence is emerging that even if you exercise regularly, spending a lot of time sitting down can be bad for you, according to Dr. Stuart Biddle, a Loughborough University professor of physical activity and health.

Professor Biddle says that the poor health effects from too much sitting are separate from whether you are physically active or not. He says that they are separate in the same way that smoking is different from diet.

A behavior of sitting increases with age, particularly when ill health is a factor. So most of us could benefit from spending less time sitting down, and that applies even if you’re keeping active. We need to try things like standing when we use the phone. When it is appropriate, allow individuals to stand for a few minutes at the beginning of a meeting. Think about other ideas for more standing and less sitting and share those ideas with others for a healthier society. Biblically speaking, there will come a time where we will be able to “sit all day without it having a negative effect.” So Never Give Up! Never Give Up! Never Give Up!

By Chaplain Ghosten

chaplain@lhp.net