Sitting: the New Silent Killer

Sitting; an action we as students partake in everyday without thinking, just like walking or breathing. After a long, hard day of listening to lectures and taking tests, the first thing that comes to a student’s mind is sitting down on a nice plush couch and relaxing, maybe tuning into his/her favorite TV show. However, sitting is all fun and games until you realize that it can actually kill you. Maybe you’ll think twice about kicking your feet up and sitting for hours now. Yes, it’s morbid. However it’s serious. Sitting for too long without any breaks can bring an earlier death. This leads to high school students wondering, where do we go from here?

Overall, the combination of  total time sitting per day and duration of sitting at once without a break will lead to early death. After a study from Annals of Internal Medicine, the recommended measures to combat this is to take a movement break per thirty minutes of consecutive sitting.

Easy enough right? Though this may seem like an accessible task for most, it poses a concern for high school students stuck in classes for hours at a time. Who could have guessed that sitting would be the silent killer in schools and not the lunchroom mystery meat?

Students are at a greater risk to be victims from excessive amounts of prolonged sitting because we do it everyday. Additionally, it is not plausible for a student to jump up during class and walk around at random during each period.

How can we implement this concept into our school day without intruding classroom time? Again the recommended course of action is to take a movement break every thirty minutes. At Leonia High School, the periods last about an hour. Perhaps we could take a five minute movement break once in the middle of each period.

However a rest from sitting once every period would certainly be disruptive. Dropping everything in the middle of lessons, tests, or notes interrupts the class dynamic, potentially leading to a decrease in student productivity. Now the question arises, what is more important, student health or education? The obvious answer is student health but is this something our school is taking seriously?

Have our students heard anything about sitting caused early mortality and are we doing anything as a school to combat this? Maybe it’s a lack of knowledge from the dangers of sitting. Maybe it is a lack of care.

However though there has been silence surrounding the issue thus far, we as a school should consider incorporating some plan of action to help our students stay young and beautiful for longer. We as a school need to integrate a movement break once every period to ensure that our students and staff remain did not fall victim to an avoidable issue. This is literally a matter of life and death and should be treated as such. Ultimately, we as students and staff members are more susceptible to early death and should not sit back (pun intended) and do nothing about it. A movement break might be a temporary disruption, but will help in the long term.