Sitting, the most unhealthy pastime (even if you are working).
Dr Mike Ford from Back2Balance is an ardent wellbeing proponent. He like nothing better than improving others’ lives in any way possible. Working as a chiropractor, with the focus on posture, and movement, Mike believes the is a powerful need to get out of our seats and move, or face the consequences later.
It is estimated that 4 out of 5 people have a desk based job and sit for long periods each day and many of those spend a fair portion of their evening in a similar state.
In 2012 the NHS released figures showing that sitting for long periods can lead to:
112% increase in risk of diabetes
147% increase in cardiovascular events
90% increase in death due to cardiovascular events
49% increase in death due to any cause!!
But it is not all doom and gloom! Whilst this tells us that just like smoking; being sedentary is very bad for our health, unlike smoking we can fight back and stay healthy despite having to work behind a desk!
How to sit less
The best solution to the sitting problem is not to sit! This is often tricky, but there are a few top tricks to help spend as little time as possible sitting:
- Get a standing desk. When you are standing you move more, compress your spine less and breath better! (Cheap options from ikea)
- Take routine breaks. Set an alarm for every hour or so and stand up, walk outside if possible, and breath deeply! Stretch, drink a glass of water and then return to your seat. If you work in an office, rally your coworkers and break as a team!
- Stretch throughout the day. Taking 5 minutes to stretch your shoulders and legs a few times a day can change the way you feel. (A quick WebMD video as a beginning guide:)
How to stay healthy even if you have to sit:
I’m sure you have heard before that exercise keeps you healthy, and indeed it does! But for those of us that would prefer a cup of tea at 6 in the morning to a run, how can we fit exercise into our lives? The important thing is to realise what moving regularly does for you and your body:
It has been repeatedly proven that regular exercise improves memory, sleep, posture, confidence, energy and generally makes you happier. It also massively improves the immune system preventing us from getting ill.
However there is a myth that exercise has to be intense and exhausting to work, this simply isn’t true! Even as little as a 30 minute walk each day can lead to a significantly happier, healthier and less stressed you!
The secret to combatting a sitting lifestyle is finding a 30 minute slot in your day to use your body in a different way, this could be in the morning or during lunch time, the easiest time for me is immediately after work.
Make this 30 minutes a part of your life and fill it with something you like, whether it is swimming, running, going to the gym, walking, climbing or just doing some gentle yoga in the lounge. If you commit to it now you will feel the benefits for the rest of your life!
- One study found that exercise improves life expectancy as much as quitting smoking.
- “Exercise produces a relaxation response that serves as a positive distraction,” says Cedric Bryant, chief exercise physiologist for the American Council on Exercise. He says it also helps elevate your mood and keep depression at bay.
- You’re not the only person who will benefit from more happiness and less stress in your life. When you’re less stressed, you’re less irritable and that could improve relationships with your partner, kids, and co-workers.
- A common excuse is ‘I’m tired to exercise’. While exercise may make you feel more tired at first, that won’t last long!
- The physical tiredness you feel after working out isn’t the same as everyday fatigue. Once your body adjusts to exercise, you’ll have more energy than ever!
Even the NHS suggest standing UP! Article enclosed.
Here is Dr Mike standing up at work!
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