Have you heard this wild stuff in the news lately, that sitting is the new smoking? Well, I don’t know how factual that is, but I do know that sitting at work for hours on end isn’t great. Studies have shown that repeated, prolonged sitting can lead to high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, excess body fat – particularly around the midsection – and high cholesterol levels. Excessive amounts of sitting have also been correlated to higher incidence of heart disease and cancer.
Do you think your distant ancestor, the caveman, ever would have thought that you’d be sitting at a computer 40-plus hours a week? Our bodies were designed to move – walk, squat, bend, lift, hunt and gather.
Well, the reality is, a lot of us do have jobs that keep us stuck at a desk or in meetings. And worse, when we get home we go right to the couch to watch TV until it’s time to go to bed! Or we end up sitting on the bleachers at our kid’s hockey game. How do we minimize the risks associated with this? See if you can commit to trying one of these ideas for the next seven days:
- Take micro-breaks: Take 15-30 seconds to stand up, stretch out, take some deep breaths or just rest. Sneak this in several times a day!
- Get up every 30-60 minutes to go to the bathroom, get a drink of water, go to the copy machine, etc. Print your copies to a printer that requires you to walk across the room or down the hallway.
- Stand to use the computer. Take advantage of any standing stations you might have at work. Perhaps ask your boss if you could invest in a sit-stand station so you can alternate positions at your desk throughout the day.
- Spend part of your lunch break going for a walk. This means that you must take your lunch break!!!
- Can you make your meeting mobile? Walk with your coworker as you talk.
- Stand up during meetings.
- Stand during phone calls.
- Try to integrate some sort of cardiovascular (CV) exercise into your routine. CV exercise pertains to any activity that keeps your heartrate elevated for at least 10 minutes. This could include walking, jogging, swimming, biking, dancing and jumping jacks.
If you were successful in implementing one idea for a week, why not add another one for week number two? Congratulations on making yourself healthier!