Do you sit too much?

The new line, sitting is the new smoking. How does this sit with people? Do you take it seriously? Do you get up every hour if you’re sitting at a desk all day?

Why is it so bad for us to sit?

As humans, we are meant to move. As time has gone on, we have become less and less active. Everything is accessible- we have more drive-thru’s,  we can pick up our groceries, and we don’t need to walk into the bank anymore. As technology continues to develop, our movement seems to decrease.

The old days, getting water, chopping wood, carrying groceries, walking into a restaurant, moving at work, are gone. And as much as some people think that this amount of movement doesn’t affect you, it all adds up. People now think that walking 10,000 steps means they have got enough movement, when in reality,  it’s the bare minimum we should be moving in a day.

Now, the normal is driving to work, sitting at work all day, driving home, and often sitting on the couch for 2-3 hours at night. We are having increased rates of obesity, heart disease, diabetes and many other preventable diseases, some of which can be directly related to less movement, and poor nutrition.

Sitting for long periods of time, even if you do go to the gym, has long term affects on our bodies. This article by Klosowski talks about the short and long term effects of sitting-

“It’s difficult to get an accurate assessment of what sitting all day will do to you because the effects work in tandem with diet and other risk factors. So we’re going to start with a relatively healthy person who does not drink in excess, smoke, and who isn’t overweight. Then we’ll estimate the effects of sitting for over six hours a day based on what starts happening immediately after you sit down. (If the majority of your sitting time takes place at a desk, keep in mind that a standing desk has its own problems, too.)

Immediately After Sitting

Right after you sit down, the electrical activity in your muscles slows down and your calorie-burning rate drops to one calorie per minute. This is about a third of what it does if you’re walking. If you sit for a full 24-hour period, you experience a 40 percent reduction in glucose uptake in insulin, which can eventually cause type 2 diabetes.

After Two Weeks of Sitting for More Than Six Hours a Day

Within five days of changing to a sedentary lifestyle, your body increases plasma triglycerides (fatty molecules), LDL cholesterol (aka bad cholesterol), and insulin resistance. This means your muscles aren’t taking in fat and your blood sugar levels go up, putting you at risk for weight gain. After just two weeks your muscles start to atrophy and your maximum oxygen consumption drops. This makes stairs harder to climb and walks harder to take. Even if you were working out every day the deterioration starts the second you stop moving.

After One Year of Sitting More Than Six Hours a Day

After a year, the longer term effects of sitting can start to manifest subtly. According to this study by Nature, you might start to experience weight gain and high cholesterol. Studies in woman suggest you can lose up to 1 percent of bone mass a year by sitting for over six hours a day.

After 10-20 Years of Sitting More Than Six Hours a Day

Sitting for over six hours a day for a decade or two can cut away about seven quality adjusted life years (the kind you want). It increases your risk of dying of heart disease by 64 percent and your overall risk of prostate or breast cancer increases 30 percent.”

Although some of this seems pretty drastic, it’s so important to understand that we need to move. I don’t mean only at the gym, I mean in life. Walking, getting in and out of the car, going up and down stairs, just add movement in wherever you can. Below are 10 ways to add more movement into your day and fight sitting!

10 ways to fight sitting all day:

  1. Set an alarm at work for every hour- get up, have a drink of water, do a little stretch. Set a goal to stand at least once an hour.
  2. Walk on your breaks, don’t sit. Use your breaks and lunch hour to move. Walk to lunch or a nearby coffee shop.
  3. Use commercials as a reminder to move- even if its up a flight of stairs or to the kitchen, it’s better than sitting for 3 hours stuck on Netflix.
  4. Park at the back of the parking lot when going shopping or getting groceries.
  5. Use the stairs, always.
  6. Put filing cabinets, printers, photocopiers and other things you might need on a regular basis away from your desk.
  7. Get a baseline- use a pedometer or your phone to measure where you’re at now. What you measure you can manage. If you’re only walking 2000 steps, you have to make it priority to get up more.
  8. Plan a family walk or hike. Even if it’s 10 or 15 minutes, fresh air and movement for any amount of time is good. Make it part of your daily plan!
  9. If you go to the gym, don’t sit. Get off machines that force you to sit and work, it’s counter productive to what you need to do. There is a standing alternative for every weight machine in the gym, and if you’re not sure what you’re doing, get help, it will only benefit you in the long run.
  10. Drink more water. Resolve to drink more water every day this year. Not only is drinking more than eight glasses a day great for general health, getting up to go to the water fountain and again during frequent trips to the bathroom will help you force movement.

3 Must do Exercises for Posture:

(do each exercise 1-3 times/day, 10-20 reps)