As CEO of the American Diabetes Association, I see research and statistics every day that reinforce the importance of staying active to reduce risk factors surrounding diabetes. One fact that stands out in particular is that sitting for long periods of time increases the risk of serious, potentially life-threatening health problems such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
To counteract these negative effects, the Association recommends that everyone get up and move at least once every 90 minutes. Why every 90 minutes, you ask? Well, this recommendation is based on research published by Marc Hamilton, PhD, Texas Obesity Research Center, Houston, in Diabetes Care, one of the Association’s peer-reviewed scientific journals. In his study, Dr. Hamilton first described the idea that light physical activity spread throughout the whole day could be more effective at improving the metabolism of fat, cholesterol and blood sugar than intense exercise for a couple of hours. It’s an important finding—and one we need to call attention to.
That’s why I’m very excited to spread the word with our second annual National Get Fit Don’t Sit DaySM, which is taking place tomorrow, Wednesday, May 4.
National Get Fit Don’t Sit Day serves as a jumping-off point for all Americans to lead more active lives at work and beyond—beginning with that important commitment to get moving at least once every 90 minutes. On this Wellness Day, the Association will be encouraging healthier lifestyles by helping our own employees to stay active on the job.
On Wednesday, our Home Office staff will be wearing our best athletic clothes, participating in office yoga and working out at a pop-up gym. I’m even leading a staff walk to a nearby nature preserve! We encourage all companies and organizations to join us in whatever way is best for their own culture, from hosting exercise classes at the office, to having a steps challenge, to holding walking or standing meetings—anything that helps promote movement throughout the work day.
I’m also thrilled to be hosting our first-ever CEO Fitness Challenge, in which 7 health and fitness industry leaders from across the country are joining me to compete for the most steps on National Get Fit Don’t Sit Day.
The CEO Fitness Challenge will not only keep us active, but also set a great example for our organizations and the rest of America. I personally look forward to going head-to-head with executive leaders from Sun Life Financial, Lilly Diabetes, Sanofi, Merck, Moda Health, the Portland Trailblazers and Garmin as we work to get up and get moving at least once every 90 minutes. Our progress throughout the day will be shown at diabetes.org/ceochallenge, so check it out. And feel free to keep us accountable by following along!
At the Association, we truly believe that healthy employees are happy employees, and we’re excited to walk the walk on this National Get Fit Don’t Sit Day. I’m looking forward to proving that working in a traditionally sedentary environment doesn’t mean that we have to succumb to the negative effects of sitting—all it takes is a commitment to staying moving.
Kevin L. Hagan
Chief Executive Officer
American Diabetes Association