The science of sitting on the sofa

A major new and innovative campaign, combining a unique mix of art and science, will get people thinking about their health in a revolutionary way and will turn people’s perceptions of chilling on the sofa on its head.

Fidget is launched against the backdrop of concerns about an increasingly sedentary lifestyle in part driven by new technology and doing things such as watching television. The Trends in Television Report published in early 2012 by Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB) indicates Britons watch around 30 hours a week, or over four hours a day.

Integral to the Fidget campaign is a highly interactive canopy Ipictured) housing an arts experience, created by award-winning artist Michael Pinsky, which fuses with science in an engaging series of game zones in order to explain the science behind sitting on our backsides. Each of the six zones will encourage people to try simple activities for themselves and learn about the difference that even moderate movement can make.

Sports and exercise registrar, sofa expert and inspiration for the Fidget project Dr Wilby Williamson, says the interactive nationwide tour offers real benefits for the ‘sofa-chilling nation’. He says, “There is science behind sitting on the sofa and people can improve their lifestyles by doing something as simple as wiggling.  The pop up will get people excited about moving and shaking as they go about their daily lives in order to reduce cardiovascular and other problems. We all know we should move more but most of us do nothing about it. On the whole modern living isn’t physically demanding. Fidget is aiming to instill an understanding of the impact of the benefit of incremental movement.”

The current projection is that diseases of lifestyle will become an ever increasing burden. Currently 24% of the population are obese and 5% percent of the population diabetic. With an aging population unless there is a dramatic change in our societal trends it is estimated that by 2050 60% of the UK population will be obese and 25% diabetic.  In the US in particular where they have undertaken extensive studies, evidence from the Surgeon General indicates that cumulative physical activity reduces the risk of heart disease by 40%, lowers the risk of stroke by 27 %, reduces the incidences of high blood pressure by almost 50% and diabetes by about 50% and can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s by over 30%.

Fidget run by London Arts in Health Forum (LAHF) and funded and supported by the Wellcome Trust, will challenge the nation’s understanding of our love affair with the sofa, the telly and introduce us all to the quirky science of sitting.

Fidget is a new way of helping people to understand the facts about physical activity and the way it affects our health. It makes clear that increasing activity through simple things throughout the day can start to make a difference to all of our health.

Edinburgh, Bradford, Bristol, Taunton, Gateshead and London Broadgate (see full schedule below) giving visitors the opportunity to wiggle at will.

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