Sitting doesn’t have very much in its favour. “Sitting is the new smoking,” seems to be the health slogan of the year.
But not-sitting can be dangerous. You might trip and fall while walking. Or run into traffic while jogging listening to tunes. Or worse, all sorts of bad things might happen while you’re doing something so reckless as riding a bike.
Sitting might be bad for your general health and metabolism but at least you’re safe, right?
Well some academic researchers have finally crunched the numbers. It turns out that sitting and watching TV is more deadly than riding your bike.
In the UK the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has just issued a 126 page report urging people to walk and/or ride bikes for all short distance transportation. In answer to a question about the dangers of cycling the report’s authors say:
“All activities carry a risk,” he said. “For some reason there seems to be strong focus on the risk of injury associated with cycling. Clearly, when deaths to takes place that’s tragic, and we need to do all we can to avoid them. But I think there is a perception that cycling is much more dangerous than it really is.
“What we don’t notice is that if you were to spend an hour a day riding a bike rather than being sedentary and driving a car there’s a cost to that sedentary time. It’s silent, it doesn’t get noticed. What we’re talking about here is shifting the balance from that invisible danger of sitting still towards the positive health benefits of cycling.”
One point of disagreement. The authors talk about the social costs of obesity and inactivity and seem to run the two together. And of course, there’s a pic of a headless fattie accompanying the story. Sigh.
And yes, you could ride your bike indoors for fitness and safety but where’s the fun in that?