by Robert Pastor, RN, FACHE, Chief Clinical Officer
How many hours a day do you spend sitting? Think about it;
You sit to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner; sit to commute in your car; sit at your desk; sit on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat; sit to watch TV; sit to read; sit to do school work, etc. Researchers are now estimate that we sit about 64 hours a week and spend only 39 hours standing or walking. This type of sedentary lifestyle is putting everyone at risk and affecting our health and wellness. Now, here’s the “rub.” Many people are probably thinking “this doesn’t apply to me because I work out and exercise regularly,” but studies show that if the majority of your day is spent sitting at your job or in front of the television, you’re still at risk. Just like smoking, even if you’re doing all the right things, sitting (in and of itself) is a risk factor.
Our bodies have always been made to move, not to sit for hours on end. When we sit for a prolonged period of time, we burn less fat, inflammation increases, metabolism slows down, we have problems with circulation, less muscle tone, and a decrease in those endorphins that are released when we move around. This means more weight, more chances of cancer (research shows that more than 10 years in a sedentary job could increase your cancer risk by as much as 44%), more depression, potential cardiovascular issues, more problems with blood sugar, and more back pain. Sounds pretty grim, doesn’t it?
Here’s what you can do about it
- Stand Whenever Possible: Do you really need to sit to get your work done? Find a way to stand while working at your computer, reading and writing. Standing desks are a fabulous new way to avoid prolonged inactivity.
- Take Frequent Mini Breaks: Squats, lunges, jumping jacks, planks, and butt kicks are perfect. Every 15-20 minutes, take a short break from the chair and move around.
- Walk It Out: Park your car as far away from the entrance, as possible. Take walks during your lunch or your 15 minute breaks. Go for an after-dinner stroll. Wear a pedometer or Fitbit and shoot for 10,000 steps a day.
- Turn TV Time into Move It Time: If you tend to hang out on your couch to watch TV, make it a goal to get in extra steps, extra crunches, extra lunges, or extra squats.
- Workout: Steps one to four are a great start but may not be enough! Make it a goal to get an hour of dedicate physical activity every day.
It’s time to quit sitting; you can do it.
Change Your Habits, Change Your Life!