One of biggest threats to health comes from simply sitting. Known as Sedentary Death Syndrome (SeDS), it refers to the threat of chronic diseases from physical inactivity. Linked closely with the fight against obesity, SeDS stems from lifestyle choices and working habits where most Australians spend their time staying still – whether it’s watching the television on the couch or sitting at their desk on a computer. The result is an increased risk towards multiple diseases that can even lead to premature death.
Calculating the number of hours we spend sitting each day can be a scary reality check, but on average, Australian adults spend 39 hours per week doing sedentary activity. We spend the majority of our days moving between the bed, car, desk, chair and couch. With the Australian obesity epidemic continuing to grow, solutions need to be implemented at work to encourage more Australians to stand up, exercise and get healthy again!
Michelle Bridges , Institute graduate, Personal Trainer and media personality, launched her own health challenge for the nation this year:
“Two out of three Australian adults are overweight or obese and one of the biggest threats to our health is from Sedentary Death Syndrome (SeDS). We are literally sitting ourselves to death and we need to change this now.
As personal trainers and health professionals we have a huge role to play in helping Australians to lead active, fit and healthy lives. Part of the Australian Institute of Fitness’ mission, is to train Warriors against SeDS. Unless we have more ‘Warriors against SeDs’ to battle this disease, the obesity epidemic will continue to grow in Australia.”
Rosemary Marchese , National Training Maestro for the Australian Institute of Fitness and also an expert on obesity is thrilled that Michelle Bridges is elevating awareness about SeDS in Australia:
“SeDS, in many cases, is contributing to an early death. It’s affecting lives without us even knowing it because the ill-effects of sitting for extended periods of time are not always easy to see day-to-day. Physical activity provides the body with so many metabolic benefits and without it there is not one pill or potion that can replace all the benefits that exercise can provide you. Basically, each day that you are more inactive takes you a step closer to chronic disease. Exercise builds strong bones as we grow and then it helps to slow down the decline in bone strength as we age. Cardiovascular exercise helps to keep the heart healthy and resistance training is great for muscle strength and endurance. If exercise hasn’t been prioritized, start by making small changes. Even if you moved more for five minutes every day for a year that would be 30 hours of exercise each year which is very achievable. While it’s not enough to maximise your health benefits from exercise, this is most definitely a step in the right direction.”
Speaking on behalf of the Australian Institute of Fitness as a qualified personal trainer, Cameron Byrnes is also very concerned about this growing epidemic and says it’s easier to make an immediate change than you think.
“The long term effects of SeDS are extremely damaging and there can be many serious health complications caused by simply not moving enough – such as an enlarged heart, atrophy of the lungs, diminished bone density, muscle wastage to name but a few. It’s time to start making small changes and start moving every single day – that’s a simple motto to live by. Walk to work, take those stairs, do a few sit ups before you go to bed. Clean up your diet too and it will make it easier to get into some “positive” movement. You have one life, don’t spent it sitting down.”