Too much some days.
If I am working on a big project the whole day can pass, me welded onto my desk chair completing tasks.
The challenge of this?
Too much sitting links directly to a host of health risks. Not good.
Recently we are seeing more and more studies showing the negative effects of sitting too much. Even today US News and World Report (see HERE) reported on a study showing a higher risk of cancer, especially for women, due to significant time sitting during the day. Another report in mid June (check out HERE) explored research connecting an increase of sitting with an increase in anxiety.
Now some of this comes as no surprise if you work in an office. Classes and education around ergonomics are common place for many businesses, with accommodation made for workers needing supportive desk chairs and work stations. Although this still means you end up sitting, at least you can have support to avoid repetitive injuries and the like.
However this new information about long term health risks is a another matter entirely, especially when we bring in the role of diet and exercise to the mix. If you take marginally good care of yourself AND sit at a desk all day, then the cumulative effects may cause serious trouble down the line. I’ve read that even if you do care for yourself, it might not be enough to offset hours and hours a day sitting stationary.
Luckily, as with many things, you can do something about this. Some simple changes in your routine can provide your body much needed balance and support. Here are 5 easy suggestions for you to break up the day a little so that your body receives a little more movement.
I realize some of these are obvious, but the question comes down to actually doing them. They may take a conscious effort on your part to incorporate these into your day. It is important to do, not just for your health but also for your daily energy and state of mind. Small, simple changes often provide great impact in the long run. Give them a try and see.
#1 – Every 20 minutes get up and stretch.
This can be for one minute. Just stand and reach for the sky. Or bend slowly over and try and touch your hands to your feet. The important part is to do this slowly and not strain yourself. As you stretch take some nice deep breaths, even yawn if you can.
#2 – Every 2 hours take a short walk.
Stretching is excellent. It is also important to move your body. When you do your circulatory system activates and blood moves through your body differently. Also the movement helps take your mind off your computer screen or TV and stimulates other senses. Depending on where you work, you can walk around the building or to a different floor. Even two or three minutes is better than not moving at all. Consider taking the stairs instead of the elevator as well.
(Note: if you can walk outside it provides the extra bonus of soaking in some excellent Vitamin D from the Sun.)
#3 – Driving too much? Park a few blocks from your destination and walk.
When I worked in hospice, I spent hours a day in my car driving all over to visit clients. After awhile I made it a habit to park a short distance from the homes I visited. That way it required me to walk a couple blocks before my appointment. I even do this when I park at the supermarket. I intentionally park farther from the entrance, so that I walk a little more. Even that short walk helps.
#4 – Do you have to sit to do your task? Go ahead and stand.
I have several friends who now have a standing desk where they work. Basically their desk rises up so they can stand and do their work. If you can do this great. If not, you might think about choosing a task in your day that does not require you to sit. For example, if I need to read an article on the computer I will stand and stretch while I scroll through it. Or if I am on a long phone call, I will use an ear piece and walk around my office. Again even a few minutes of change benefits your body.
#5 – Binge watching your favorite show again? Try a neighborhood stroll instead.
These days you press play on your favorite Netflix show and 8 hours later you’re still on the couch. Binge watching is tempting for sure. Trade out one of those episodes for a nice walk around the neighborhood and your body will want you to binge on more of that. It can be hard to do, but great for your overall wellness.
Have a great technique for keeping you moving during your day? We’d love to hear about it. Just share in the comments and let us know what works. Your wisdom helps us all.
To Your Health.
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