Is Sitting Making You Older?

Is Sitting Making You Older?
Is Sitting Making You Older?

We’re sure you’ve all heard the dangers of sitting too much. Being too sedentary can cause all sorts of issues, including organ damage, muscle degeneration, leg disorders, back pain, and even a greater risk of mortality. 

But did you know that sitting for too long actually ages you too?

A recent study looked at just how much sitting can affect your “age”. The study, performed by Aladdin Shadyab from the University of California San Diego, took blood samples from 1500 women, and measured their daily activity levels using accelerometers. The researcher then looked at the impact sitting had on the women’s chromosomes. The study found that women who did not meet the recommended 30 minutes of physical daily activity, and spent more time sedentary (roughly 10 hours) were about 8 years older than those who were also inactive but not quite as sedentary. However, women who met the recommended daily activity level seemed to show no association between their chromosome age and how much they sat. This seems to suggest that exercise may counteract the aging process.  (Read more about the study here from Time.)

While the research is still out on exactly how much exercise you need to do daily to negate the aging effects, getting in the daily-recommended 30 minutes is a good place to start.  Wondering how to fit in 30 minutes a day? Here are a few ideas

  • Brisk Walking
  • Biking
  • Dancing
  • Resistance training (be sure to hit all the major muscle groups, including lower and upper body)
  • Running
  • Bodyweight cardio, like jumping jacks

Beyond that, try to avoid sitting for too long. Working at a desk job can make this challenging, but there are things you can do there too that can keep you from being too sedentary. Many work places have instituted standing work stations to combat the negative effects of aging. You may also try sitting on a balance ball, which helps to activate your muscles more than sitting in a normal chair. If these are not options for you (or even if they are), even just setting an alarm every hour to remind yourself to stand up and walk around a bit can help.  (Read this article for some more ideas to combat sitting during the workday.)

If you’re home all day, don’t get caught in the sitting trap. Take up a new hobby, such as gardening, or golf. Move around the house regularly. Find a friend to take a walk with. Clean the house. Anything you can do to stay active will help you in the long run.

How Can You Best Communicate With Your Doctor?

How To Communicate With Your Doctor

The relationship you have with your doctor is a very important part of maintaining good health.  Read below for some tips to make the most of your time with him.

Be honest and up front about your symptoms and health habits. 

While some conditions, such as incontinence, may feel embarrassing to discuss, your doctor needs to know what you are going through so that he or she can help you.  Open communication is best and telling your doctor the type and severity of your symptoms can help in developing the best treatment plan for you. 

Be prepared.

Sometimes it’s hard to remember everything.  And when you are discussing several topics with your doctor in a short window of time, it’s not surprising that some things may get left unsaid.  Being prepared helps.  Keep good records of your symptoms (our bladder diary and ABL conversation starter can help!) and make a list of all the things that you would like to discuss with your doctor before your appointment to ensure you don’t forget anything.

Be assertive. 

Your doctor may be the one with the medical degree, but you know your body best.  If something doesn’t feel right or you are struggling with a treatment, speak up!  There may be different options you can try that might work better for you.

Have regular communication. 

As with most things, prevention is key.  Seeing your doctor regularly for check ups and keeping him abreast of any symptoms or conditions you may be experiencing is well worth it. 

Ask your physician about alternative methods of connecting. 

In this day and age, doctors communicate with patients in all sorts of ways, not just on the exam table.  Ask your doctor if you are able to email him to check in or ask questions.  Most offices have nurses on call to help you with questions over the phone.  There are even services that allow you to chat with a doctor online and receive a diagnosis and treatment plan right from your living room!

Have some more tips on staying in touch with your doctor?  Share them in the comments below!