If you have a desk job or tend to sit most of the day, you’re definitely in the majority in the United States. The average American adult sits more than at any other time in history. According to the American Heart Association, sedentary jobs have increased 83% since 1950. And physically active jobs only make up less than 20 percent of the U.S. workforce.
“Due to the significant increase in sedentary jobs, activities, and entertainment over the past few decades (and even COVID restrictions!), the majority of the nation is deemed sedentary,” says Brittany Michels, MS, RDN, LDN, registered dietitian nutritionist for The Vitamin Shoppe.
“Have you ever counted up the number of hours you sit? You may be surprised, despite your habitual 30-minute daily workout, that you are in fact deemed sedentary,” explains Michels. (FYI: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines a sedentary lifestyle as sitting or reclining for at least 6 hours per day.)
Sitting too much has been found in multiple studies to more than double your risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, joint pain, osteoporosis, depression, and cognitive impairment.
RELATED: What Happens To Your Body When You Sit All Day
If this sounds like you, your first step should be to try to get up every hour and move around—even just for a little bit. To be more proactive about your health if you sit all day, you may also consider taking a supplement like vitamin D.
“Vitamin D is one of the most common vitamin deficiencies,” says Michels. “Because we make vitamin D in our skin from the sun, many who sit indoors all day are at higher risk of deficiency.”
And this can spell major issues for your health in many ways.
“Low vitamin D levels are linked to depression, anxiety, fatigue, changes in metabolism, suppressed immune system, decreased pancreatic function, and hormonal influences, to name a few,” says Michels. “Many without adequate sun exposure require vitamin D supplementation.”
READ MORE: Surprising Side Effects of Not Getting Enough Vitamin D, Says Science
According to the National Institutes of Health, men and women ages 19-50 have a Recommended Dietary Allowance of 15 micrograms (or 600 IU) per day.
Michels recommends a vitamin D supplement like The Vitamin Shoppe’s Vitamin D3 & K2, which has 2,500 IU of vitamin D3 (the most bioactive form of the vitamin) and vitamin K2, which plays a role in helping the calcium transported by vitamin D is absorbed by your bones.
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