We all know too much sitting is detrimental to our health, but it’s so normalized in our culture that we don’t even think twice about the effect it may have on the body. Desk jobs are conventional, and we’ve actually bought into the lie that too much standing can be unhealthy. Yet, recent studies show that those who watched seven or more hours a day of television had a 61 percent greater risk of dying than those who watched less than an hour a day.
Now, I understand that few of us have time to watch seven hours of TV a day, but have you ever stopped to think about how long you sit at work or are seated driving in the car?
The Washington Post recently published this fascinating article on what’s happening to our insides when we remain idle for too long. Muscle atrophy, spinal degeneration, and a foggy brain name just a few of the symptoms that occur when we are slothful. As a western society, it’s completely normal to feel the need to sit down. Walking great distances seems like a chore and standing for too long might feel as if we’re putting added pressure on our knees and back, but our bodies were made to move and they function better when in a constant state of motion. When we’re active blood flows with ease and our metabolism fires the way it should.
Here are a few remedies for how to get more stand up in your life:
Get up and get moving from the cubicle: Try every thirty minutes or so to get up and allow some movement in your body. Whether this means visiting a co-worker to say hello or simply filling up your water bottle, make sure you’re getting up routinely. Set an alarm on your work computer if you need the reminder.
Alternate between sitting and standing: This one is harder said than done, but if at all possible, try and do some of your work while standing. Some companies will help fund an ergonomic evaluation and put risers under your desk, but if that’s not an option, look for other creative ways to move while you work.
While watching TV: In-between commercials, get off the couch and do something active around the house. This isn’t to make yourself busier, but rather to keep your body active. Do some yoga on the floor or stretch in front of the TV to loosen your muscles and relax your body.
Workout or go on a walk with a friend: Try to stay up and active as long as you can. Your muscles will thank you and your bones will become stronger just by being used more. Ask a friend to go on a stroll through your neighborhood or find a nice lake or reservoir to walk around. The longer you stay active, the better.
Exercise is not a perfect antidote for sitting. –Marc Hamilton, inactivity researcher at Pennington Biomedical Research Center
Exercising for an hour won’t cancel out eight hours of sitting, so remember to keep moving throughout the day and continue to stay active until winding down for bed. Be mobile, good to your body and print the free PDF linked up on this entry. Print it and post it up at work as a reminder of how to remedy the health hazard of sitting for too long.
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