As you’ve read or heard by now, an inactive lifestyle and working environment has contributed to the new warning that “sitting is the new smoking.” Recent research sadly suggests that sitting, and of course our indulgence with binge TV watching, is taking months, if not years off our lives, even if we do go to the gym. In fact, physical inactivity has been identified as the fourth-leading risk factor for death for people all around the world. That’s shocking with all we know about fitness and healthful lifestyles!
Here are just some of the many detriments to prolonged sitting
- Correlation to high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol
- Brain fog- sitting for hours slows circulation and can cause slowing of brain function, whereas movement enhances oxygen to the brain and triggers the release of mood-enhancing chemicals.
- Soft abs- if slumped in a chair or sofa, the abs are shortened and unused. To remedy this, sit up on the sits-bones of your hips with spine straight. Use a lumbar support if necessary.
- Saggy-butt- sitting requires the glutes to do absolutely nothing, then they becoe progressivley weaker, not a good thing! Soft glutes impede stability, power and look horrible.
- Tight hips- that feeling of not being able to straighten up when standing from a chair? Those are the hip flexors stretching out after being shortened for a period of time. Sitting without periodic stretching will ultimately reduce one’s hip range of motion and stride length.
As this study describes it,“Over the last 50 years in the U.S. we estimate that daily occupation-related energy expenditure has decreased by more than 100 calories, and this reduction in energy expenditure accounts for a significant portion of the increase in mean U.S. body weights for women and men.”
More time in front of the computer, longer work weeks, television and let’s not forget processed foods, larger portions and GMOs! Fortunately, many companies today are forward thinking and committed to offering in-house fitness options or compensation for gym memberships. After all, healthy employees are more productive and reduce insurance rates. Some organizations will foot the bill for treadmill workstations, though they can be cumbersome to use while on the computer. A more popular option for improving desk-time is a small pedal machine, which is much less costly than treadmills.
Even without equipment, there are many movements that can be done between calls and conferences. One Kettlebell kept at the office can make all the difference, all that’s needed is 15 minutes minimum per day, and it can be divided into 5 minute segments… easy breezy. In addition or as a change or pace, movements in the chair and at the desk can also be effective. These also include eye drills to strengthen the eye muscles and stimulate brain activity. How about slipping into a pair of sneakers and making the stairs the midday workout?
So, with all of this in mind, set an alarm at least 3 times per day as a reminder to get out of your seat and get moving. Stay healthy and be happy!