Rise Up in the Name of Health!!
It’s been said that too much of anything can be bad for you. This theory holds true with sitting – or, pretty much any prolonged sedentary behavior, for that matter.
In an age when more people find themselves sitting for hours at a time at home, in transit and at work, researchers are finding sobering parallels between inactivity and an increased risk of health complications and chronic diseases. Yet studies have shown that the average person spends more than half of his or her waking hours in a sitting position, mostly while at work.
We’re at an incredible time when a growing number of people are beginning to accept the fact that movement is medicine, and yet they still find themselves sitting throughout most of the day. Without making concerted efforts to overcome all this sitting, this can unfortunately lead to issues like obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
One Mayo Clinic cardiologist, Martha Grogan, M.D., has even compared the effects of excessive sitting with that of smoking. So how does one combat such inactivity, especially if work or career requires a lot of time in a chair?
It’s all about moving, engaging your muscles and waking up your body, even if it’s just a little at a time. Such efforts help keep your mind alert, body moving, burning calories and increasing your energy levels.
To accomplish this within a work environment, try these ideas:
Sweat Your Commute: Instead of driving or taking the bus to work, get up early and walk. Or, ride your bike. If you have to drive, park at the far end of the lot, then take the stairs whenever possible.
Take a Stand: Take advantage of any opportunity you have to stand. Perhaps there is the option for a sit-stand desk in your workspace. Standing to take a phone call or doing a few stretches before answering an email are effective ways to decrease sitting time. And, trade internal instant messaging for a quick walk to a coworker’s desk.
Break for Fitness: When you take breaks, don’t just sit in the lounge with a coffee, snack and your smartphone. Take a quick walk around the building or block, or do some stretching.
Have a (Fitness) Ball: Trade your chair for a fitness/stability ball. Sitting on one of these periodically through the day will improve your balance and tone your core muscles while you accomplish your daily tasks.
The Ideal Posture is a Changing Posture: Regardless of how perfect your work station is set up, being there too long isn’t healthy. Set a timer for 20 minutes and then move, change your position, sit then stand a few times…just get moving.
Sitting throughout the day can cause weaknesses in your muscles and stiffness in your joints. This can then lead to poor posture and unhealthy imbalances in your body. Over time, discomfort, pain, injury or other complications can develop. It doesn’t have to be this way though.
Our bodies were built to move. We have an amazing capacity to stand, walk, jump, twist, bend, play, run, swing, skate, swim… it’s part of the beauty of being human. Frequent mini-movement breaks throughout the day will help our bodies thrive and our spirit grow. Take action. Make movement. It’s good for you!