This week's BWL column reviews research on the dangers of sitting...and encourages you to walk and cycle more and sit less.
BikeWalkLee Column in News-Press "Go Coastal" section, Sept. 18, 2014
a growing mantra that "sitting is the new smoking." Don't dismiss it
out of hand as more alarmist rhetoric. One of the people making such a
comparison was cardiologist Martha Grogan, who said: "For people who sit
most of the day, their risk of heart attack is about the same as
How bad is it? Consider this (as compiled by Active):
In a typical day, by the time you add up sleeping, working, watching
TV, computer time, meal time and commuting time, an average American
could log up to 22 hours of inactivity.
• Two hours of sitting is as harmful as 20 minutes of exercise is beneficial.
A university study concluded that up to 20 percent of deaths of people
over age 35 could be attributed to the lack of physical activity.
Prolonged sitting increases your risk for the aforementioned
cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, muscular disorders, headaches,
back pain, obesity, weight gain and diabetes.
• Some 70 percent or full-time U.S. workers hate sitting, but they do it anyway.
who sit but exercise may think we have less to worry about. Not so. If
being fit means getting 60 minutes of exercise a day (a pretty high
standard for most) and the rest of your day entails sitting, that one
hour of action doesn't undo all the other inaction. That's why many
people use those activity wristbands not when they're exercising, but
when they're not – to track how much activity they undertake in their
normal lives, when the real damage can be done.
Which brings us to
the point: If sitting is bad for you, stop sitting so much. Get on your
bike and ride, or put on your shoes and walk (or run or hike or dance
or just move, you get the idea). Studies have shown that in places where
biking and walking are relatively high, obesity and related health
issues are relatively low. Other research ties walking or cycling to
work with positive psychological effects, releasing endorphins to blast
the blues in a somewhat direct correlation to the number of steps taken –
so walk longer to be happier!
That's why we encourage people to
try to incorporate biking and walking into their daily lives rather than
just making it something you do at a special time and place. That's why
it's important that we as a community support more bike-able and
walkable facilities, both in what gets built as well as what's already
in place – so having a safe place to bike or walk isn't the impediment
to more movement.
And that's why it's important for groups such as
Healthy Lee, Lee Memorial, the Dept. of Health, Streets Alive and the
many other related efforts to push the connection between a more active Lee County
and a healthier Lee County. People, politicians and businesses need to
see the tie between health, the bottom line and a better quality of life
for our community.
In the meantime, don't just sit there – move!
BikeWalkLee is a community coalition raising public awareness and
advocating for complete streets in Lee County—streets that are designed,
built, operated and maintained for safe and convenient travel for all
users: pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders of all
ages and abilities. Information, statistics and background online at
Sunday Oct. 11: Fort Myers Cops and Joggers 5K. Centennial Park,
downtown Fort Myers. Race starts at 7:30 p.m., and proceeds will benefit
the Fort Myers Police Department Fallen Officer Memorial Fund and the
Brotherhood Ride. Registration: $20 adult, $15 youth on or before Oct.
· Saturday, Oct. 18: 6th annual Sanibel
10K 4 F.I.S.H. Starts 7:30 a.m. at Sanibel Community House 2173
Periwinkle Way, Sanibel. Registration $30 by Oct. 11, $35 through Oct.
17 and $40 day of. (www.ftmyerstrackclub.com)
· Sunday, Oct. 19: Rocktoberfest
10 mile (or 2 x 5 mile) race. North Collier Regional Park, 15000
Livingston Road, Naples. Pre-registration $55, students $45' starts at 7
· Tuesday, Nov. 11: Veteran's Day 5K Run across the Midpoint Bridge.
Proceeds to benefit YMCA Youth programs. Race starts at 7 p.m.
Registration: Before Nov. 1 veterans an youth $15, adults $20;
veterans and youth $20, adults $25. (www.ftmyerstrackclub.com)
Cycling & other events:
Saturday, Oct. 11: Project 10 Ride 4 Wishes. Cape Harbour, Cape Coral.
15-, 30-, and 62-mile rides. $35 pre-registration, raises funds for
Make-A-Wish Southern Florida.
· Sunday, Oct. 12: Trek Breast Cancer Awareness Ride. 10-, 15- and 25- mile rides. From The Bicycle Center, 3795 Tamiami Trail,
Port Charlotte. $30 before Sept. 1, $40 after.
Sunday, Oct. 26: Fifth annual Tour de North Port. 15-, 35- and 65-mile
rides that begin and end at the Imagine School, Upper Campus, 2757
Sycamore St., North Port. Full support, trick-or-treat rest stops.
Breakfast and lunch offered. Starts at 7 a.m.; $40 each, $10 under age
10, group discounts available.
· Sunday, Nov. 2:
Streets Alive returns to downtown Fort Myers 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Activities
for the entire family focused on active and healthy lifestyles. Details
· Sunday, Nov. 9: Caloosahatchee River
Ride 2014. 15-, 30-, 40- and 62-mile rides starting from Caloosahatchee
Regional Park, 19130 North River Road, Alva. Register in advance or day
Sunday, Oct. 5: Marco Island Triathlon 2014, Marco Island Marriott
Beach Resort, 400 South Collier, Marco Island. 8 a.m. start $85
individuals, $160 teams (http://www.thefitnesschallengetriathlon.com)
TELL US ABOUT YOUR RIDE:
a favorite route you like to bike, or a unique walk you'd like to share
with others? Tell us about it at firstname.lastname@example.org, and maybe we can
feature it in an upcoming column.