Your body has been designed for movement. However, in our fast paced, technological society, the reality is that we have slowed down. Think about what your day is like. How long is your commute to work? What is your job like? Are you sitting at a desk in front of a computer screen for the majority of your workday? When you get home, do you relax in front of the TV or with your head down engaged with some sort of mobile device? Have you ever added the time up to take an honest look at your activity level within a 24-hour period? You may be surprised how little you actually move.
Regardless of how much physical activity someone gets, prolonged sedentary time negatively impacts your health. Sitting for an extended amount of time has been linked to poor posture, lower back pain and an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
On average, a US adult spends an average of 9-10 hours sitting per day. What is discouraging about that fact is that studies are showing that even if an individual works out for 30-60 minutes, it is not enough to counteract the negative effects of prolonged sitting. You simply cannot offset 10 hours of stillness with one hour of exercise. We need to find ways to be creative and simply move more throughout the day.
It is a simple concept. Simply get up and move. However, we have become used to so much sitting, while working, eating, watching TV and even at social event that we simply don’t think about getting up.
There are some simple ways to incorporate some non-exercise activity throughout the day:
Walk across the hall to speak to a co-worker instead of sending an e-mail
Take the stairs instead of an elevator. (Being able to pick up your own body weight is extremely important, especially as we age.)
Stop looking for the closest parking spot! Take the opportunity to get in more steps and park further away from the entrance.
Take a longer, roundabout way to get to your office or desk.
Stand-up for 2-3 minutes every hour to activate muscles and upregulate metabolism. Take a fitness break: 10 squats, 10 calf raises and 10 wall push-ups require little space and not much time.
Hold walking meetings, whether it is business or casual. Walking and talking improves mood, concentration and blood flow in the body.
In addition to a regular exercise routine, adding some non- exercise movement will positively benefit your health. You may even find that you not only feel better but also have a little more energy to do the things you enjoy. Take a stand against sitting and find ways to move more throughout the day.