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Your Life, Your Health: Risks of sitting

Updated: Tuesday, June 3 2014, 06:37 PM EDT
Believe it or not, too much sitting down can raise a number of alarming health issues. A new study by Northwestern Medicine says too much sitting time is linked to major disability after the age of 60. In fact, if you’re 60 and older, every additional hour a day you spend sitting is linked to a 50-percent greater risk of being disabled.  Routine physical activity after 60 yields many benefits, including lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, and depression. It also lower blood pressure and increases metabolic rates.

CBS6 visited a weekly ‘Sit to be Fit’ class held at Shaker Pointe in Watervliet, a senior living home. We met resident Connie Kelly, who says participating in this exercise class brings her back to a time of youth.

“You’re just able to handle things so much better. You’re not going to fall, your balance is good.” Kelly says. “Rather than living here and sitting in a rocking chair doing nothing, this is all live long, die short.”

‘Sit to be Fit’ is one of three classes Kelly takes. It’s a series of exercises led by instructor Kerry Engle that involve standing up and sitting down, tapping of the feet and different arm and hand movements to improve physical motion.

Engle says a lot of this is designed to make everyday tasks easier, like reaching for cabinets or getting on and off the toilet. The strength building and balance work also reduces the risk of falling.

“I just had one lady in my class tell me she went to her daughter’s house where she normally needs assistance getting up the back steps. This time she did it all by herself.” Engle explains. “They should do all of this activity so they can stay as independent as possible for as long as possible.” Engle says.

Classes like ‘Sit and Fit’ at Shaker Point are offered many places – but if you can’t make a class, here are some simple strength-building exercises you can do at home.Sitting and standing off a chair. Try this 10 times once or twice a day.

  • Bicep curls: Use a small set of weights, or even soup cans. This will build upper body strength.
  • Push-ups against a wall: This way you don’t have to get down on the ground.
  • Balancing exercises: Make sure you do these in the corner of a room with a chair in front of you so you have something to grab in case you fall.
Your Life, Your Health: Risks of sitting

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